Flap Your Wings

<<this is a re-post; it was originally posted in April 2009>>

It’s funny how often lately references to ducks seem to come up for me.

I’ve written a book about motherhood called Letters to Rebecca – Musings on motherhood…& feminism & patriarchy & female/male relationships & the state of the world… and in it I muse on Mother Duck.

Mother Duck knows her job: raise the brood. Straightforward, hmm?

Then there’s “water off the back of a duck,” meaning it just slides off – lets go…

In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle observes that when two ducks get into a tussle, they end it by flapping their wings and swimming off.  Far as we can tell, they don’t stay mad – they don’t carry a grudge. Flap their wings and get on with life.

If the members of the human race could do a little more wing-flapping and a little less obsessing over hurts and grievances and wallowing in anger and resentments and the “Oh poor me” game (a whole lot more singing and smiling would be great too – these are inevitable mood-lighteners!), think what a different world it would be, hmm?

Let’s all learn to flap our wings, shall we? Then life will be just ducky!

‘Nuff said.


p.s. As previously mentioned, Eckhart Tolle’s books and audiotapes (and the Webcasts he did with Oprah) can help us all enormously to transform ourselves…and the world!

p.p.s. Other items on this blog about Eckhart Tolle & ducks are ‘Pain Bodies on Parade or Oh, To Be a Duck’ & ‘Ducks Unlimited; Humans? Also Unlimited.


Tolle Tutorial  <April 2011>


What would Pema (or Eckhart) do? <Aug. 2014>


12 Life Suggestions


Preamble: I wrote this little item quite a few years back, now. It was meant for my daughters. Life advice from Mom; you know, that kind of thing. It's not bad advice! I'll add in a p.s. down below...

  • Practice gratitude often, preferably daily. Gratitude alone can transform your life!
  • Walk often – alone, and in silence. Make a real point of noticing & enjoying Nature while you’re walking.
  • Cultivate friendships, love and a sense of community. Plato said “Your wealth is where your friends are,” and I can’t say it any better!
  • Follow your bliss…Do what you burn to do. So much good will come out of that, it will surprise the heck out of you!!!!!
  • Do your best to act in accordance with your own knowing, your own conscience.[1] Trust your own instincts.
  • Share wildly! Don’t hoard! Your intelligence, your energy, your passion/compassion – your money. Be wildly generous with all of them. The Universe will reward you generously, I promise!! [2]
  • Use your voice. Say things out loud. Sing out loud too!! (Singing is definitely magical)
  • Cultivate solitude and silence. We all need healthy doses of both in which to nurture our souls (sounds a bit fruity – but it’s true!)
  • "Let your little light shine." Develop a creative outlet of some sort – this will help that little light shine… It will also make you feel wonderful
  • Own your own power, and harvest it for good.
  • Work on cultivating non-judgment and compassion. This takes ongoing work and endless practice (actually, I think it’s a lifelong process!) but is mightily worth our efforts.
  • Lighten up on yourself!! We’re all human. We all have problems and neuroses, make mistakes & missteps, Heaven knows! We’re also amazing and compassionate and full of wondrous potential! When we learn to practice compassion toward ourselves, we’re then liberated to practice it with others. Or is it the other way around?? So much on this Earth is circular!!

** I think if you do your best to do these things, or at least to work on them with some devotion, you’ll very likely soon learn to feel rich on a regular basis. Before too long, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that wealth really has nothing whatsoever to do with money.

You’ll also learn the truth of the assertion that “It is in spending ourselves that we become rich.” (Sarah Bernhardt said “Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.”)


p.s. all these years later: these things still strike me as pretty good life advice. I will add this one additional item (& you know me! I could easily add 12 more, very likely, at the drop of a hat). Please don't put people on pedestals. It's a total waste of energy, & eventually said people will fall noisily, messily, off the darn thing, & you will feel terribly disappointed. Just Don't Go There.

p.p.s. I have learned quite a lot of new, some-of-it-really awful stuff about the world since I wrote this somewhat naive piece. But ... well, I think most of it still applies. So. You know, whatever.


[1] I suspect you already do this routinely. I love the Filipino proverb “A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth.” It’s true!!

[2] In a quite neat film I saw recently, the narrator said, “Sharing is everything.” (This is the film ‘’Home: A Hymn for the Planet.”) I also recall that Leonard Nimoy said, “The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.” Paradoxical, but, in my experience, quite definitely true…


Birthday Wisdom

<April 8/18.>


It’s official! I am 65 years old today.

A “senior citizen!”

An old geezer.

It’s official!!


& I have just a few short words of wisdom

to offer today.


If there is something you really really want, in this life

Go on out & get it for yourself.

Don’t, don’t, DO NOT sit around on your butt, waiting for someone/anyone else to come along & give it to you. Hand it to you, on a silver platter. As they say.




p.s. Inflections & intentions are important, okay? I am NOT suggesting that psychotic rapists & murderers & corporate planet-destroyers & family-destroyers & selfish, self-obsessed millennials (or members of any other generation, cohort, or sub-category of human beings) conduct campaigns of death & destruction & carpet-bombing (real or metaphorical) in order to fill up their damaged, wounded souls with more material props (or illusions of ultimate personal satisfaction &/or power) that will not, for the record, ultimately fill up their souls at all. (These types certainly don’t need MY advice about getting what they want! Lord a'mercy; they've been doing all this just fine, day after decade & century & millenium, quite without my advice or counsel!?!?!?!) I do suggest we all work on healing our damaged, wounded souls ... since deep woundedness tends to make us (& those around us) pretty darn miserable, hmmm?

Sheesh already.

p.p.s. Okay. Let’s get personal here, shall we?

What I really wanted for my birthday this year, was to come away from the Big City – for a couple nights in my now-favourite place on the planet ... & be surrounded, not by buildings & people & noise – but by the natural world.

Trees, not cars.

Quiet, not noise.

(well, bird sounds = totally welcome, of course)

& that’s exactly what I did. For myself. I gave myself the exact birthday present I absolutely most wanted.

Silence. Solitude. Nature.

F. Park lake scene on April 8'18(2).JPG

Oh. & carrot cake.

Too long to relate the entire carrot cake story. Though wanting carrot cake on my birthday one time 12 or 13 or so years ago now – & not getting carrot cake (though it had been promised) – is when I really “got” the lesson about going after what I really want in this life ..... for myself.

& not sitting around on my butt waiting for someone (anyone; you know, Prince Charming; whoever) to deliver up my life for me.

This year? No carrot cake. But! A carrot cake muffin – a filled carrot cake muffin – is standing in just nicely, thank you very much.  

I am in heaven!

p.p.p.s. as a wider reading of this blog will quickly attest, I am not someone who believes I can make absolutely anything I want happen in my life, just by wishing for it. The state of the world is as the state of the world is, hmmmm? I cannot "save the world" or "save humanity" or "save" myself. Things are as they are. However, I do have much dominion over some of the circumstances of my life. I act to do what I can, & also, there is lots I must simply surrender to. Life is an endless balancing act, is it not??


A Few Somewhat Relevant Quotes

“All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it to those around us.” – Richard Rohr

“You decide to do something, perform one small action, and suddenly it’s a tide, the momentum is going, and there’s no possibility of turning back. Somehow, even though you thought you foresaw all that would happen, you didn’t know the pace would pick up so.” – Amanda Cross, American writer

“The magic is inside you. There ain’t no crystal ball.” – Dolly Parton

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.  Concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance that no-one could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Goethe

“The universe oozes with power, waiting for anyone who wishes to embrace it.” – mathematical cosmologist Brian Swimme, author of The Universe is a Green Dragon, quoted in Matthew Fox’s The Coming of the Cosmic Christ – The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

“We are not lacking in the dynamic forces needed to create the future. We live immersed in a sea of energy beyond all comprehension. But this energy, in an ultimate sense, is ours not by domination but by invocation.” – Thomas Berry in The Great Work – Our Way into the Future

“When you follow your bliss…doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors & where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.” Joseph Campbell

“The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. You get to take yourself oh so very seriously.” – Tom Robbins, *Jitterbug Perfume* (from the Rob Brezsny site, way back who-knows-when) ** some great quotes on happiness here

“Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Those who are sleeping, let them sleep. Those who are waking, wake them. Those who are awake, nurture them, for they are the gardeners of the universe.” – Anonymous

 “You can ask the Universe for help … but not for a free ride.” – Janet & Grace