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I have been captivated by a song, a performance, and a legend.  The song: “As If We Never Said Good-Bye*.”  The performance: by Elaine Paige: Queen of The London Musical Theater.  The legend: Norma Desmond, the faded movie star in the film and stage versions of Sunset Boulevard*.

To summarize, Norma Desmond is past her prime and has been forgotten by Hollywood for years.  She somehow convinces herself that her former director, the great Cecil B. DeMille, has requested her for a part in a new film.  The song speaks of Norma’s trepidation, nostalgia, and excitement for the whole experience of making movies and being a star.

In a stunning performance, Elaine Paige sings from the heart of Norma Desmond: “I don’t know why I’m frightened; I know my way around here…  There’s a world to rediscover… The atmosphere is thrilling here, as always…  Feel the magic in the making.  Why, everything’s as if we never said good-bye.”

On the table during my bodywork session today, the song plays in my consciousness, the legend appears.  Norma’s world is the movies: she plays scenes, chooses which part of the character to expose, to express, to develop; which road to follow, which not.

A new level of understanding surfaces: I live scenes, the scenes in life that present themselves everyday.  Consciously or unconsciously, I choose which part of my own character to expose, to express, to develop.  I choose which paths to follow, which not; which people to include, which not.  I choose everything–inside and out.

And, I have trepidation: I don’t know why I’m frightened; I know my way around here.

And nostalgia, longing to reunite with lost loves: As if we never said good-bye.

And excitement: There is a world to rediscover; the atmosphere is thrilling here, as always.  And today I absolutely feel the magic in the making of my own life!

For all this, I give thanks to the power of a song, a performance, and a legend.

Love,

Susan

*Sunset Boulevard The Musical: Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Book & Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton

Nourish Thyself

There are many ways to nourish ourselves, but the one I speak to today is the literal one: eating good food.

I find that a delicious meal made from fresh and healthy ingredients that seem to be made for each other really boosts my happy quotient.  Moaning over a meal is one of my favorite modes of expression!

These days I take great joy in deciding what that meal will be and when: lunch or dinner?  Working at home affords me the opportunity to have the larger, or heavier, meal of the day at either time.   In the summer I often eat bigger at lunch; in the winter darkness comes early, and the call to dine elaborately comes mostly for the evening.  When I find myself home alone for days at a stretch, I really get into experimenting with food preparation.  The dish I want to share with you this week is one I put together for myself on a very hot desert evening with the ingredients I found waiting in my refrigerator.  It turned out to be a one-dish meal that I went gaga over.  Made it again two nights later!

To nourish myself fully I want to enjoy the preparation of the meal as well as the ingesting. Therefore, I begin by putting on some music to cook by.  Since I usually cook in the Italian or Mediterranean way, I choose Pavarotti: Neapolitan Love Songs; The Soundtrack to Big Night (one of the great cooking/eating movies of all time); or something jazzy like Diana Krall, All For You. The point is to have fun and move your body around so you don’t get tired or sore.

This dish is what I call Sassy Summer Pasta.

This amount  will serve one.  I do that to encourage you to take the time and care to nourish your self.  Then, if you want to serve it to friends at a later time, do it!  Double the recipe for two, triple it for three, etc.

4 ounces Barilla Thin Spaghetti

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium to large cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 calabasita (a pale green zucchini-like squash that comes from Mexico and is very sweet) sliced very thin (use a mandoline if you have one)

1/2 orange bell pepper sliced in the same way as the calabasita

a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half

a handful of fresh Italian parsley chopped

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to grate over pasta

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Slice and chop veggies, parsley, and garlic

Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil, add the kosher salt. Cook pasta according to package directions 6-7-8 minutes, depending on your taste.  Don’t overcook!

While the water is boiling, in a 12″ frying pan over a medium-low flame, heat the extra virgin oil a minute or two, add the garlic and cook alone no more than two minutes or until it is just golden.

Add the veggies and saute over medium heat, turning frequently, 5-8 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy.  A little snap of the skin is okay as long as the innards are tender.

Heat the bowl you in which you will put the pasta in the microwave a minute or so.

When the pasta is done, drain well and put into the pan with the veggies.  I usually drizzle a little oil on the noodles at this point, then mix with the veggies in the pan until well blended.

Pour into heated bowl, arranging the veggies in a colorful array, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste; grate the fresh Parmigiano over the noodles; sprinkle the parsley on top.

Eccola!  You are ready to dine!  Pour yourself a glass of a good Italian red:  Bolla Bardolino or Valpolicella compliment this wonderfully.

Sit down, listen to music, watch a good mystery on TV, or gaze at the sunset while indulging in gustatory delight!

I tend to eat a layer, salt & pepper & cheese again; eat a layer, do it again.  But you can inaugurate your own nourishing ritual.

Buon Appetito!

Love,

Susan

I am sitting on the table at Mountain Dove Chiropractic in Sedona, AZ.  Dr. Marc Viafora, my Network Chiropractor, asks me how I am today, and I say, “Struggling with the neck and shoulders, Doc.”  He checks my neck and spine, tells me to lie on my back and do ten deep breaths at the throat, heart, and navel, and goes on to treat another patient.  When he comes back to me a few minutes later he says, “Susan, the neck is origins,” meaning the neck is where in our bodies the origins of our stress have settled.  “Oh,” I say, “that’s good,” meaning good that after almost a year of treatment, I have cleared enough away to be getting to the source of things.

Physical pain has been a constant in my life since the age of 18, when a driver rear-ended my father’s car while I was at the wheel, certainly sending my neck on the journey that has led me to this table today, 45 years later.  I’ve spent time, money, and energy trying to get rid of the pain.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?  Not according to my healer and mentor Dr. Marc, who says,  “We need to listen to our bodies.  The pain is a communication.  It’s there when you need it.  You’re ready to change–physically, mentally, emotionally, or chemically.”

Something is going on at a level we are not even aware of, and our bodies are screaming to be heard.

Has your body been sending any communiques your way?  Have you been listening?

Wishing you love, laughter, and a wise and gifted bodyworker!

Susan

I start out for the grocery store, in the car, driving.  I get about a mile down the two-lane rural road when my chest tightens and my heart starts to fibrillate.  Hmm. I keep going.  It continues.  Better pull over. I do.  Recline in the seat, deep breaths, bear down–no relief.  I lie there.   Haven’t had one in so long…why now? It crosses my mind that this morning a very important person in my life is, for the second time, having a procedure in UC Medical Center, San Francisco, to try and shock her heart out of continuous fibrillation.  My gaze is drawn to a white SUV coming down the road in my direction.  What’s that bundle on the roof of the car? It gets closer and I see the bundle is a dog poking his head up through the open sun roof, and he is enjoying himself completely.  Oh, how cute! At seven minutes into the fibrillation I turn the car around and head for home.  I am right behind the white SUV and gaze upon the long, lean, tannish-grey body of the dog up on hind legs between the seats, head through the roof, his sweet innocent ears flapping in the breeze.  How adorable is that! I giggle my way home.  Fibrillating all the way.

Halfway through the door I announce to my partner, “I’m having a fib, gonna lie down.”  At 14 minutes, the fibrillation subsides.  My partner takes my blood pressure: 99 over 62; heart rate: 70.   “I’m gonna just rest here a while,” I say.  I lie there and try to figure it out.  It’s only a moment or two before the words echo in my head: “Don’t die…please, don’t die.”  My friend in UC Medical Center.  I was afraid that the shock would somehow go awry and kill her.  I call my partner in and share my epiphany.  My whole being relaxes.

Being aware and conscious of our feelings is a big step on the road to healing.  I find that voicing them to someone whom I trust and with whom I feel safe takes me farther down that road.

Do you have someone, or several someones, to listen with compassion to your feelings, and share the road with you?  I hope so. If not, who in your sphere may be waiting in the wings for just that opportunity?

Would I have received the joyous gift of seeing that dog in the sun roof if I hadn’t been stopped on the side of the road waiting out a heart fibrillation?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that happy flappy dog will stay with me always–a bit of heaven, I say!

Enjoy each moment,

Susan

Let ‘Em Flow

Why are we so hesitant to cry?  About our own stuff, I mean?

I can cry at the drop of a hat while reading a Hallmark Card, or watching a movie, or even while reading newpaper article aloud to my partner!  But when my own sadness shows up, I tend to say to myself, Oh, no, not now; I’ve got things to do; I want to be happy today; or, the one that works most often, I don’t want puffy eyes and a stuffed-up nose! Vanity always wins in the end.

Not so long ago, shortly after one of these internal discussions, I had a heart fibrilation.  I have them on occasion but hadn’t had one in a long time.  After hearing that info from me on the phone, a dear and wise friend said, “Susan, the next time you feel sad and want to cry, do it.  Let yourself cry.  Your heart needs the release.”  Oh.  Yes.  Okay.

Just do it, friends.  Let yourself cry–all day if you must.  Our hearts need the release.

Love,

Susan

Welcome!

Thanks for checking in.

To those of you whose mother, or father, or both have died, I am very sorry for your loss.

I hope you have read my new free eBook, 5 Roads To Healing From The Loss Of A Parent.

As I said in that book, we all grieve differently.  Even so, many of the feelings we experience will be the same.

I would like to hear what parts of my story you relate to.  What has inspired you? What are you doing to help yourself through this difficult time?

If you haven’t read the book and want to, click on the To Share & Inspire tab at the top of this page, sign up, and read the book with my compliments.

Thank you,

Susan