Archive for August, 2011


may this be the second in a long litany of thankful prayers.

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I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Texas is being bombarded by drought and hideously high temperatures. Here in Austin we’re wrapping up the hottest, driest July and August on record. My stalwart air conditioner can’t get below 82 degrees from around 4 pm until after the sun goes down. Every day I hand-water my garden beds (we can only water with sprinklers twice — soon to be once — a week).  Even with a daily dousing, by mid-afternoon the plants all look wilted.

Mature yard trees are dying because people think they can survive without water. And the trees and plants that have to depend on rainfall are goners. Wild animals are being driven into the ‘burbs looking for water. My brother recently saw a coyote a block from his house and there’s a opossum who’s taken up residence next to my carport.

The other day someone told me that meteorologists are predicting we won’t get any ‘meaningful’ rain through the end of the year. The rest of the country’s getting floods, earthquakes, tornados. I suppose at least we can say it’s calm here as things die. But it’s relentlessly depressing.

This makes laughter all the more miraculous. I smile whenever I see this photo of my parents. It was taken in lush Tennessee, not parched Texas, and their shirts are not inside out. More on that later.

I got an email from an Austin friend who said he’d had a record-breaking water bill and his lawn now looks like a candidate for Yard of the Month… in Somalia. I responded that ‘I almost choked when I read about your Somalian yard. Really, I was swallowing a mouthful of water (I practically carry a bottle around my neck these days) and came close to spitting it out.’

Another friend took me to see Paula Poundstone in concert last week and I have a new understanding of the term ‘in stitches.’ Then I got to walk a short distance with her after the show. We joked about trying to keep up our ‘hair appearances.’ She was as delightful off-stage as on.

Yet another friend said her husband insists on wearing his tee-shirts inside out because he doesn’t like the writing on them. I started laughing out loud. She was kidding, right? Oh, no. He could easily afford to buy new shirts but these are fine, by dang. He just doesn’t like the writing. He won’t cut the tags off, either. She’s seen waitresses and kind strangers come up and whisper to him about it, assuming he doesn’t know. He knows. Hilarious.

My alternate hand recently wrote, there’s no such thing as too much gratitude. I’m beyond grateful for these gifts of laughter and the friends who bring them. And at this point I’d happily settle for some ‘meaningless’ rain.

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surprised at how little you owe on mortgage. due diligence, dear one, but at significant cost to you.

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Loving Kindness, thank you for the precious gift of myself and help me see that I contain wonders that I can share. let me love myself as unconditionally as you do.

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acknowledging feelings doesn’t equal being ruled by them, helpless to change. you are anything but helpless.

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Lincoln has always spoken to your heart. perseverance in the face of unimaginable hardship even when young. humor and his ‘better angels’ — and belief in himself — were in his arsenal.

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no expectations but eager anticipation is a-ok!

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watch ‘dronehood,’ dear one. enjoy this day. angels are hovering, waiting to help.

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Christopher is the Communications Director for a large corporation. He came to his alternate handwriting session feeling frustrated — to put it mildly — about his job. He said he had a major plan due in a couple of weeks and felt ‘frozen’ in his ability to finish it. Even though he also knew he was more than qualified to do so.

He went on to say that he didn’t fit into the work environment. His colleagues were researchers and scientists, and took everything ‘very seriously.’ They didn’t understand that their clients needed a different type of communication style, something Christopher had been diligently telling them for a long time. He couldn’t get through to them, he said. They wouldn’t listen.

He started his session head-on.

Dominant Hand: Is there a way to make my current job fun?

Alternate Hand: I can laugh more.

DH: How?

AH: I can not take things so seriously.

DH: Why do I want to cry?

AH: Because I am not having fun. I am scared.

DH: How can I laugh at work?

AH: Have confidence in plan. Write it and then live it.

DH: Can we be successful doing this custom brand?

AH: Yes.

DH: How?

AH: Sell it to everyone we see. They can learn to like it.

DH: Why is it hard for me to sell?

AH: I am so different. I don’t think the same way.

DH: Do they want me to think the same way?

AH: No.

Christopher sat back and looked at the writing, then at me. ‘They don’t want me to think the same way. That’s why they hired me. Here I am thinking they don’t trust me but really, they want me to be who I am.’

I suggested a question and he wrote,

DH: What would happen if I laughed more at work?

AH: I would get more done. I would be happier. It would be easier to go there. It would be fun.

I think it’s fair to say that he left the session feeling about 10 pounds lighter.

A few days later I called him at work and to my delight he answered the phone laughing. He said he’d been following his alternate hand’s advice and was having a blast. So was his staff. They were preparing for a pre-meeting meeting and enjoyed, among other things, calling it a pre-meeting meeting.

Later he sent this email: ‘The meeting went well today. The big one will now be on Thursday, but we primed the pump. I did the right thing by asking lots of questions that made people stop and think. I am proud of the work I am doing.’

Me, too, Christopher.

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you are remarkable!

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