The Call to Journey

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“I go where I am called. To discover this destination, I listen deep within. There, in that sacred place, the destination resides. There the journey to self knowledge is already revealing itself to me.” ~ Joseph Dispenza

 The call to journey is an important one. It is also a call I used to dismiss as frivolous, a crazy idea, or a passing daydream. “For goodness sakes, I have to work!” I would reply when someone mentioned that they were off on some wild adventure.

I used to be a person who viewed travel as a vacation, two weeks on the beach to unwind and gaze at blue waters and brilliant sunsets. I would scan the internet for bargains, book the trip and count the days. I’d type up itineraries, list the best restaurants and see all that was important according to the guidebooks. These trips were great, but when they were finished I slipped back into my life and continued on. Like hiccups in my routine, they were quickly forgotten and filed away in a box of photographs.

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Then, quite by accident, I learned how to turn travel into a journey of the heart and soul. I threw away my itineraries and began to wander through destinations untethered. Without a check list of places to rush toward, I began to notice life around me in a new, unhurried way.  I noticed subtle details and nuances of culture, watched people communicate and listened to the musicality of their language, and breathed in the scents of ancient cities and pastoral locales. Wonderful things happened. Wonderful new friends crossed my path.

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I slowly realized that this sort of travel invited me to go deeper, to explore that which connects us all as human beings on this complex and beautiful planet. Not only did the destinations reveal themselves in their own time, my true spirit began to reveal itself to me like a long lost friend. It was through this sense of meditative journeying that I found a pathway to a peacefulness I had never before known.

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When I realized that travel can become a spiritual practice that can lead to self-discovery, I began to embrace adventure as a necessity rather than a luxury. Adventure redefined as a simple change of routine or as complex as a trip into the far reaches of Asia. The key to it resting in my ability to stay present in the moment and receiving the inherent gifts of such presence.

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In response to my personal call to journey, I want to share this profound experience with all of you. If you are feeling that tug, that soul call to journey, please consider joining me and travel writer Lynn O’Rourke Hayes for such a once in a lifetime adventure on the Italian Riviera this October 18-24!

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Your room awaits!
For more details go to www.italyretreat.weebly.com or email me at susan@susanpohlman.com~
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Posted in A Peaceful Heart, Spirituality, Susan Pohlman, Transformational Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day

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To my Valentine, my husband, my partner in crime. I love you!

(I know this is a bit long for a blog post, but if you are married, or have been,  you just might enjoy the ride 🙂 )

Valentine’s Day

I placed a hesitant hand on the smooth metal door handle of the Hallmark store and pulled it open to the sound of tinkling bells. Ruby hearts hanging from the door jamb brushed the top of my head as I stepped inside and headed for the Valentine section, an explosion of pinks and reds.  Crowded with last minute lovers like myself, we had to jockey for position as we searched for the perfect card.  Studying people’s expressions with secretive sideways glances, I longed to hear the running commentary inside their heads.

I have always been a last minute Valentine shopper because I dread it.  I can only bring myself to buy something simple that says “I love you’.  All of the other cards in the store are stupid.  With every card I read, I have to add one more sarcastic sentence in my mind.  Or at the very least, a clarifier. I can’t leave it alone.  It’s very stressful.

After a quarter of a century of marriage few of them ring true.  Can we all please admit that many of these sentiments are, at the very least, stretching the imagination? I have long considered designing a line of Valentine cards that are grouped according to the number of years you have been married.

I long for little ditties like this:

Loving each other has been a long, hard road, but I still think you are cute.

Or:

Can’t wait to celebrate our love at Donovan’s Steak house because we got a $150.00 coupon from your client.

Or:

Let’s stay up past 9:00 PM and make out for eight minutes straight.

Love is damn tricky.  An enigma.  So much has been written about it that I dare not add to the rubble.  But if I had to, if Cupid put a gun to my head, I wouldn’t waste time composing an essay as it would never capture the layers, the nuances. I would take a thousand noble words and nestle them in pairs with their less than noble opposites. Then I would shake them in my cupped hands like dice and toss the whole collection off of Juliet’s balcony and watch them scatter and bounce on the cobblestone streets of Verona until they landed in a mish-mash mural of the language of love. Maybe I would even take a photo of it and sell it to Hallmark for next year’s selection.

“Excuse me,” I said to a young woman with a sparkly diamond ring. She smelled of lavender and caressed a card like it held the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.  “Just reaching for this one.” I grabbed one depicting a romantic table set for two. It unearthed a memory.

My husband and I became engaged at Papa Pirozki’s in Atlanta on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  Who chooses to propose to his bride in a Russian restaurant on December 7th?  Looking back, I think he had a subconscious yearning to personalize the Cold War, to plant it as a seed in our relationship.  Though the rest of the world was evolving beyond such ideology, it was apparent that he was some sort of fan.

I hadn’t expected it to be a night unlike all other nights as we were rekindling a relationship that had been on a long hiatus. Neither of us expected the marriage proposal to play out the way it did.  But maybe that was a good thing.  Perhaps it’s the couples who do everything according to the Prince and Princess Handbook who don’t survive when the magic wears thin.  In retrospect, I think it was better to start this union with our gloves on, in a boxer’s stance. One needs to understand strategy and battle maneuvers. It is vital to appreciate humor and build camaraderie in the unexpected foxhole. These are the necessary skills that keep a marriage alive.  Flowers and chocolate are useless.

I remember sitting alone enjoying the candlelight and crystal that adorned our table for two as I held a thumb-sized glass of fruited vodka, icy and thick with raspberries. I loved the way the color matched my fingernails, the stark contrast of them against the white linens reminded me of the raspberry and cream popsicles I ate as a child. Feeling relaxed and elegant I took tiny sips as I gazed around, nodding to other couples nearby who were beginning to notice that my date had disappeared.  I wondered what was taking him so long as he had excused himself to go chat up the chef, whom he said was an acquaintance.

A black door to the kitchen swung open and Tim burst back into the room, all smiles.  At 6’8” he wasn’t known for quiet entrances.

“Ivan’s going to send out a few freebies.  Said he’d take care of us.” Tim plopped into his chair and smoothed his blonde hair into place.  He downed his fruity vodka like it was Kool-aide and motioned for the waiter to bring us another round of drinks.

“Great,” I said picturing all sorts of exotic Russian delights appearing on plates that were once served to the Romanovs.  “So how do you know this guy?”

“Met him at a radio event.  He’s from uhm,” Tim snapped his long fingers as he recalled the information, “Moscow.  Yea, that’s it.  Moscow.”

“What was the event?”

“Does it matter?”

“No.”

“So what’s with all the questions?”

“It was only one question. Why are you getting agitated?”

“I’m not agitated.” He picked up the second fruity vodka and downed it. “Would you finish your first drink already?”

“Fine.”  I threw it back like a pro.  Then I picked up the second one and saluted him.  “Let’s just relax and enjoy this. We only have two days before I fly back. I missed you.”  He took a deep breath and exhaled through flared nostrils.  I put my hand over his drumming fingers.  Something was up. “Are you okay?” I asked.

A young waiter with Ricky Riccardo hair swooped over, handed us menus and then gave a run-down of the night’s specials.  We each chose an entrée and Tim asked for another round of drinks.

“Tim. Maybe we should slow down on the drinks.”

“No.”

“Fine.”  What was wrong with him ?  It seemed as if he had left his usual joking demeanor in the kitchen with Ivan. I threw back my second drink in one gulp and choked daintily into my napkin.  We could take a cab home.

“So how are things at the airline?” Tim asked as he took a piece of bread from a silver bowl.  Thrilled to have some normal conversation, I started into an elaborate story about a new dad who tried to change his baby’s diaper on a fold down, jump seat. As I got to the part where the dad laid the baby on her back while he held the jump seat down with his knee, Ricky Riccardo came back and placed a small salad in front of me.

“Zees is from Ivan,” he announced as he stood back from the table.

I nodded to him and smiled.  “Thank you.”

“No problem.”  He beamed as he retreated to the water station.

It was ugliest, driest looking salad I had ever seen so I pushed it to the side as I continued my story.  Tim stared at the salad and then back at me.  “That’s your salad,” he said.

“There’s no dressing. And what is this stuff?  It’s not even lettuce.  It’s cabbage or who knows what?”

“Have some salad.”  His voice held an edge.

“I don’t want the salad.”  I calmly stated, the words evenly spaced and heavy on my tongue.

“Eat the salad,” he whispered through clenched teeth. Beads of sweat were forming on his brow. I gave him my most powerful defiant stare.

“Eat – the – damned – salad.”

“Fine.” I pulled the salad over and started to pick at it with my fork suddenly feeling other people’s eyes upon me.  I looked around and noticed them, whispering in hushed tones.

“What is up with you?” I could barely conceal by growing rage. “I thought we were going to have fun.”  Blood was pumping through my veins, banging in my ears.  I took a bite of one of the bitter greens and held up my fork as I chewed it. “This is disgusting. I thought Ivan was your friend.”

Then I saw it.  A velvet box of midnight blue half hidden under shreds of carrot and radicchio.  Panic gripped me like a giant hand and squeezed tight. No, no, no.  I did not want this to happen here. This was not what I had choreographed in my ten-year-old heart as I picked at my chenille bedspread on sleepless nights.  I could see our waiter going from table to table alerting the others to our impending moment.

“Honey,”   Tim leaned on his elbows and bore into me with blinking eyes, “Stop blinking your eyes like that. Take the box out of the salad.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Open the box, Susan.”

“People are staring.”  I attempted another defiant stare but it was difficult to pull off with tears plopping onto the table.

“Open – the – damn – box.”

Though I don’t remember willing them to do so, my shaking fingers pushed away the vegetables and picked up the small velvet cube.  All eyes in the restaurant were on us.  I opened the box and a diamond solitaire caught the candlelight.  I looked up at Tim and stared as his lips moved without sound.  I glanced at the staring eyes to the left and then I glanced at the staring eyes to the right, distorted faces like funhouse mirrors.

“Well?” Tim asked with a face so vulnerable and earnest that I suddenly couldn’t imagine a life without him. “Will you marry me?”

“Yes.”

The room ruptured into cheers as Tim handed me a third vodka and held up his.  And we burst into laughter, toasted each other and cheered along with them.

The whole experience did not play out the way either of us had imagined.  It was not the traditional down on one knee sort of proposal on the beach at sunset, nor was the ring magically unveiled on a covered silver dish as he had hoped.  It was clumsy, unexpected, and filled with nervous emotion on both sides. It was real and heartfelt and awkwardly expressed the way marriage often looks on a daily basis. In retrospect it was the perfect engagement.

“Must be a funny card,” Ms. I Smell Like Lavender commented as I giggled to myself.

“Just brought back some memories,” I sighed as I put the card back in its place, “But it’s not the one I’m going to buy.”

“I think I’m going to get this one,” she confided as she held up a photo of a sunrise on which was printed ‘Every sunrise means another day of loving you’.

I forced myself not to add a sardonic comment and ruin her choice.

She opened the card and pointed to a wall of poetry five inches long. “This poem says it all for me.”

“How many years?”

“One.  Well almost,” she said with a shy smile.  “You?”

“Twenty-four.”

“Wow.  So, what’s the secret?  What have you learned?”

I plucked a simple white card with a simple red heart and opened it for her to see. “This is the card I get for him every year.  Because after awhile, you learn that these are the only three words that matter.”

Posted in Love, Marriage, Moments That Matter, Relationships, Susan Pohlman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Dragonflies

I just returned from four glorious days nestled deep in the evergreen woodlands of Northern Arizona.  Rim country they called it, referring to the Mogollon Rim. Two hundred miles of dramatic rock formations, deep canyons and more sky than you have ever seen at one time.  Three of my treasured writing pals and I gathered at a mountain cabin in Christopher Creek. Call it retreating, recharging, the rebirth of the muse, call it the long exhale.  Okay, call it heaven if you must.

I am well into a job transition, deciding to leave the classroom and develop a writing based business that encompasses all of my loves: writing, teaching, speaking, traveling, and more writing.  It has not been an easy road.  And though I knew, as I stepped in that direction, that few writers can make a living this way, I felt a pull toward it. A call. And if I have learned anything from writingHalfway to Each Other, it is to follow that call, no matter how absurd it may sound to you or those around you.  It is the call of your creative soul, the dwelling place of sanity, of peace. It will only call you, and if you don’t answer it…who will?

These past two months, particularly, I have been working furiously on a new book.  It has taken awhile to get started on it, but now I am in the thick of process, shaping and rewording and spilling blood. Recently the pieces were more difficult to birth. The muse was stingy, my well of words running dry.  Pulling the proper ones into place became arduous like lining up pebbles on a steep slant. They kept rolling, shifting, falling over edges. I didn’t realize that I was entering extreme fatigue, not the kind that sends you in search of a pillow, but the kind that sends you in search of a glass of wine hoping your muse is swimming in it.

When I was invited to join these writers, I left my computer at home. I found an old notebook and pen and off I went without expectation. I awoke the first morning, rubbed the sleep from my eyes, grabbed a mug of steaming coffee and ventured onto a wraparound deck that stood fifty feet from a creek, the border of the Tonto National Forest.  Surrounded by greens of every shade and texture, I felt immediately calmed. The sort of calm that comes from a mother’s hand on your shoulder. I could stand and stare into that green forever, watch the tall grasses gently bending with drops of dew, count and recount the species of trees and bushes and wildflowers that poked their heads up to greet the sun.

All of a sudden a large dragonfly with bulging iridescent blue green eyes stopped about twenty feet from me and hovered as if he was surprised that a human had appeared.  I stood still and held his gaze to see what he might do. He continued to hover, did not go about his merry dragonfly way.  Then he slowly advanced toward me, inch by steady inch, until I could hear the beating of his wings.

“Hello there, my friend,” I whispered thinking my words would scare him off. “Good morning to you, too!”  The sound did not scare him at all, he only moved closer.  And when it became uncomfortable I waved him off until he buzzed above my head and over the roof of the cabin.

I was intrigued by our greeting of each other and chewed on it all day as I went for a hike through the forest and then sat with my friends as we shared meals and writing prompts and picked apart shorts stories written by the masters of our time.  The memory of him perched on my shoulder as I fixed an early afternoon gin and tonic, that we all agreed was medicinal, for one of us who had received a deflating rejection letter that very noon. And he haunted my dreams, in a good way, as I slept the deep restorative sleep that comes when you find the courage to break open the shell of your heart and share your fears with like minded comrades around a campfire that sends red sparks to meet the full moon.

The next day, he returned, but it was not for a morning greeting and it was not alone.  The four of us were seated in folding chairs, in the shade of the bordering forest, working silently on the art of imagery. We were, if I may speak for all of us, happily lost in creative wonderfulness. The way it feels when your words are pulsing upwards like geysers and soothing hot springs. As we painted metaphors and placed poetic phrases in our notebooks and wrapped these images around our hearts, the dragonflies appeared. As we answered the knocking doors of our souls, walked toward that voice that has called us, quietly and persistently, all of our lives, to write and claim our places as true artists, they swarmed in gentle circles over our heads.

We looked up from our notebooks and remarked about the magic of that particular moment. Indeed it was. The dragonflies never landed, never bothered us in any way. They did, however, perform a dragonfly ballet to the music that only a writer can hear as he/she creates. Their dance, a visual response to our collective song of joy.

Upon my return home, yesterday, I looked up the meaning of the dragonfly and was not surprised at what I found.  A powerful symbol in many cultures it represents a number of things.  It stands for renewal, positive force and the power of life.  Because it has wings sensitive to even the slightest breezes, it represents change. Also a creature of water, it is symbolic of the subconscious, the dreaming mind, a reminder to pay attention to our deeper thoughts and desires. Lastly, because it has such a short life it reminds us of the value of living in the moment. Living life to the fullest by heeding the call of our souls and making choices to connect and give birth to that which we are called to create, whatever that means and however that looks.

Those moments with the dragonflies will inspire me the rest of my life. Those four days were vital ones that have restored me on many levels.  I share this story, this moment in my writer’s journey, as encouragement to others who may feel stuck or unsure. For those who have written themselves dry, or have piled manuscripts into a drawer afraid to share them with the light of day.

Seek renewal from those who share your creative journey. Find the courage to stand before the dragonfly and bid him a fine morning then welcome him to begin his pirouettes as you let your soul free.

Posted in Moments That Matter, Susan Pohlman, Writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Mother’s Silhouette

To all of our mothers.  Thank you for your love~

 

A Mother’s Silhouette

I awoke for a moment in late afternoon, the hospital room spare and efficient.   I looked over and saw my mother sitting with a rosary in her hand, a cool dark silhouette before a window fiercely illuminated by the hot desert sun.

“You don’t have to talk,” she said noticing I was stirring. “I’m just going to sit here.”

Thank you.  It’s exactly what I needed.  An immense, familiar peace filled me, her profile eliciting early memories as I continued to drift in and out of sleep, my body ridding itself of the anesthesia from an early morning surgery.

I dreamed of sitting tall beside her as she drove the white station wagon with two sure hands on the wheel down bright summer streets, and squinting up from my canvas raft to see that she still sat in the striped beach chair in case I needed her to rescue me from the crashing waves.   Then I was suddenly spinning on the old brown naugahyde covered stool in the kitchen as she prepared dinner, her black wavy hair in sharp contrast to the fading glare of a snowy afternoon through windows over the kitchen sink.  I felt the weight of her as she perched on the edge of my bed saying prayers with me, the hall light streaming behind her into my room cloaked in night. Her slight frame in the living room window as I pulled up to the house in an old blue Ford with my first boyfriend.

All of these memories, backlit, glowing.  A mother’s silhouette.  Anchoring, soothing, solid.  As an adult, going about the daily routines, I had forgotten about the calming, restorative effect of having my mother simply sit in my presence.  I looked to her as I always have.  My mirror, my friend, my ever present reminder-er that my hair cut is all wrong and my weight is too low.  All these years she has been the constant in my life.  Now sneaking around the edges of my heart is the knowledge that she will someday be gone.  It is an unbearable knowing. Where will she be when I need her?  Who will be backlit for me then?

The ability to have children may end, but mothering endures.  It is a singular and beautiful calling to become the silhouette to God’s light here on this earth.   In this room, helpless and still, I saw clearly that my position in the chain of motherhood would remain unchanged.  A child doesn’t stop needing his or her mother simply because he or she is turning fifty, and a mother’s instinct to love her children never ends.

My thoughts turned to my son and daughter, young adults trying to find their way and make sense of their circumstances.  I wonder if my silhouette holds the same power. If I was there when they needed to peer from their own darkness and look toward the light. If I understood when they were young that love shines brightest during the simple moments of mothering that become so routine that we perform them without thought.  I look forward with a new understanding to the many years I have left  with them.  Even if that means just sitting in a chair in a shadowy room by a sunny window, a chance to remind them of the immense, familiar peace of a mother’s love in this often harsh world.

I awakened again, my head pounding.  She was there in a second with ice chips and a cool cloth.

“Do you want me to turn off the ceiling light?” she asked as she leaned over me.

“No, leave it on,” I replied adding one more image to my my treasure box of silhouettes.

Sheets smoothed, pillows adjusted she stood searching for some other detail to attend.

“Thanks, Mom.” I said as I felt the tug of sleep once more.

“I’ll just sit over here,” she whispered. “You don’t have to talk.”

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Ben’s Bells and the Power of Kindess

~Deliberately seek opportunities for kindness, sympathy, and patience.
Evelyn Underhill

This morning I had the priviledge of participating in the “belling” of Phoenix.  All over the valley, volunteers hung Ben’s Bells to spread the message of kindness and remind us of its power to soothe broken lives, create hope, and affect positive change.

My friend, Diane, and I were entrusted with twenty hand-made bells, twenty pieces of wire, and a rough hewn map on a blue index card. As we walked to the car, I carried this bundle with reverence for it wasn’t just an old grocery bag crammed with ceramic  flowers and bells, this was a bag filled with hope. And hope is the most powerful force on the the planet.

We drove carefully to our designated area and began to choose unlikely spots: a tree in a parking lot, a vacant playground, a bench along a bike path.  We understood that our role was to deliver the kindness, and it would be someone else’s to receive it.  With each bell that we tied to a random location, we knew that it would become a bridge to hope to the person meant to find it.  Each bell would become a chapter in a story of healing.

When I returned home, I began to check the Ben’s Bells webpage where people will often post their story about finding a bell, or how a bell found them in a dark moment of their day.  A few of the stories were about bells Diane and I had placed. The circle of kindess complete.

Here are a few of the stories:

Jackie writes…
Thank you for restoring my faith in… well, faith. I have been feeling so alone since losing my husband to cancer last year and now raising three boys. Some days are just so long and hard and on this night I was rushing to my son’s baseball game after working a 12 hour day. I parked the car and as I walked past a tree on the jogging path, I caught a glimpse of a yellow flower hanging beautifully from a tree. I remembered reading about Ben’s Bell’s a while back and wondered if maybe I had found one. As I read the card and happily untied it, I felt such a connection to the heavens. Someone was watching over me! I truly felt that this daisy bell (my favorite flower) was put in my path for a reason. Thank you Ben’s family for making my heart lighter and putting a spring in my step. I will be sure to spread the kindness in honor of Ben (and Bill.) My husbanded loved Tucson dearly, but ironically the bell found its way to me in Scottsdale.
aurelia b writes…
Today I woke up missing my daughter, Violet. She died almost five years ago. As I often do on days that I feel a bit more overwhelmed and unsure. I performed my own random act of kindness this morning in honor of my daughter. My day was long and griefy. I got home and my boyfriend(Violet’s dad) gave me Ben’s Bell. Someone had left it in a tree near his truck. It was just what my soul needed. Thank you for allowing me to know your son and be a part of this kindness.
Julie writes…
I found myself having somewhat of a stressful day today at work (I am a RN in Phoenix) so I decided to head out and get away during lunchtime. I caught a glimpse of something colorful hanging in a tree by my car–a beautiful Ben’s Bell. I read the tag attached and later looked up the website. I was so moved by this project, especially the story behind it, as I, too, have lost a child. It’s almost as if the bell found me instead of me finding the bell. I immediately knew where this bell would hang – 9 years ago we had planted a gorgeous, flower blooming tree in our backyard to honor our son Trey’s memory and it would be perfect for this bell! So after work today I told my family about this bell and tonight we hung it on a branch. Thank you a million times for making me smile today and reminding me that kindness does go a long way.
Jeannette and Dean, Ben’s parents and the founders of Ben’s Bells tell the story of their son and the meaning behind the bells.  Please take a moment to read about it here.
Our simple acts of kindness to strangers as we go about our days are as important as those shown to our loved ones. As you travel through life remember that your choice to be kind will light a dark day for another.
Peace and Kindness to you~

 

Posted in A Peaceful Heart, Moments That Matter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Learning Ally

A few weeks ago I was sent an email informing me that Halfway to Each Other was chosen as one of the books that would be added to the Learning Ally library during Phoenix’s  annual Record-a-Thon.  I was honored and excited at the opportunity.

I have been aware of Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) for many years through my teaching profession.  It is a godsend for students and their families.  This national non-profit, offers an online catalog of the best audiobook and audio learning opportunities on the internet.  I have referred them to families of struggling students and have watched these children take charge of their learning and glow with the pride of achievement.

Here’s a blurb about them from their webpage:

“Founded in 1948 as Recording for the Blind, Learning Ally serves more than 300,000 K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Learning Ally’s collection of more than 70,000 digitally recorded textbooks and literature titles – downloadable and accessible on mainstream as well as specialized assistive technology devices – is the largest of its kind in the world. More than 6,000 volunteers across the U.S. help to record and process the educational materials, which students rely on to achieve academic and professional success.”

Though headquartered in Princeton, NJ, they have recording studios and offices all over the country.  Pam Bork runs the studio here in Phoenix with a staff of generous volunteers.  Dorothy Burns and I had a lot of fun recording Halfway to Each Other together, or at the very least I had fun and she was tearing her hair out with all of our re-do’s whenever I would flub a word or phrase.

Dorothy and I after our recording session.

If your family has a need for this organization, don’t hesitate!  If you can’t find the title of the book or textbook you need, they will record it for you.

If you would like to voluteer to read/record books,  all it takes is a short demo in the recording booth and you’ll be on your way to helping people of all ages enjoy reading and experience the wealth that printed material provides.

Click here to browse the titles in their catalog!

Posted in Moments That Matter, Susan Pohlman, Writers | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wabi Sabi Love

Wabi Sabi

In 1987 my husband, Tim, and I won a trip for two to Japan. It was our first real adventure together, two young kids, just married, off to see the other side of the world. West meeting East on an unexpected first date.

We landed in Tokyo, bought two tickets for the Bullet Train and raced at top speed into the past, discovering an ancient culture that spoke deeply to the places within me that my Western soul had yet to discover.

Now, years later, when I lie awake on sleepless nights, I sometimes travel back there in my mind remembering the moments and characters that illuminated that adventure: an elderly man in a sedge hat, his back bent with the weight of time sweeping the already clean path to a temple in Kyoto; a cab driver with white gloves driving us up a steep hill to an address we pointed to in a travel book; the sand dunes piled high against the Sea of Japan; millions of peace prayers written on tiny origami cranes strung together in strips along the narrow streets of Hiroshima like giant paper Man o’ War floating to heaven.

One night, as Tim and I sat in a tiny bar in some tiny village, we struck up a conversation with a khaki clad man on the stool beside us. His English was impeccable and he turned out to be Jordan’s ambassador to Japan. I don’t remember his face but I remember the conversation. He spoke to us for hours, revealing the beauty and culture of the Japanese, comparing and contrasting Eastern and Western philosophy. It was a brilliant evening in a brilliant setting. One of those points in time that I look back upon and realize that it wasn’t chance. It was a moment of grace. A moment of revelation. A seed.

One of the philosophies of which he spoke was Wabi Sabi.  The name made us giggle, or perhaps that was the sake we drank from tiny cups, but I took in its wisdom and chewed on its power. Though more complicated than I can explain, Wabi Sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection. It is an aesthetic ideal that results in an inner serenity and acceptance. It can be life changing. How interesting that twenty years later I would be invited to share our love story in Arielle Ford’s newest book, Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships.

Arielle Ford, a pioneer and leading figure in the personal growth and contemporary spirituality movement and the bestselling author of The Soulmate Secret has written a powerful and hopeful book. She believes that with a simple Wabi Sabi shift in perception, couples can discover the beauty and perfection in themselves and their partners leading to a deeper, more loving and fulfilling relationship.

As Deepak Chopra deems “Wabi Sabi Love weds ancient wisdom and modern concerns to create the formula for a sustainable, loving relationship for years to come.”

Sometimes, a shift of the lens through which we view our relationships and our circumstances can alter our relationships in unimaginable ways.  My husband of twenty-six years and I can attest to that!  Don’t miss this path to deeper love~

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