Manda's Musings


In clearing away the wreakage of our accumulation I came across one of those Christmas tins cookies and baked goods are given. I thought I had just tossed the empty can in the hutch one day as I ‘cleaned.’ 


It was filled with little pieces of paper with snippets I jotted down of Sam-isms. Our neighbor suggested I do that rather than try to keep a book. 

I haven’t laughed so hard in ages!

Here’s one. I believe Peter and I took Sam camping but took a jaunt into a nearby New Hampshire town. Upon passing a certain shop in Ellsworth, four year old Sam said: “OK! If people’s hair gets long there’s a barbershop. THAT’S GOOD!”


The three main steps of Julie Morgenstern’sOrganizing from the Inside Out’ process are: ANALYZE/STRATEGIZE/ATTACK. Most everyone goes right away to ATTACK but she makes clear the necessary visit to ANALYZE/STRATEGIZE.

I eyed our green hutch and have had at it and have a long, long, long, long, etc. way to go.

BUT – I LOVE the ATTACK. Think the acronym SPACE: Sort/Purge/Assign a home/Containerize (I love that word!)/Equalize.

The past two days I’ve been working on our hutch. I had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time last night. I’m not tackling the whole house – just one space at a time.


Last Friday before heading up North, I cruised the library looking for hopefuls. Lately I’ve read pretty deeply into stories and found I had to put them down due to either not caring enough about what happens, or situations/setting being too unsettling for peace of mind.

Carrying a pile of books and DVDS to the counter for check out, one cover caught my eye: The Night Circusby Erin Morgenstern. I grabbed it. 

On Saturday the flu made itself at home while on my solo retreat up in Waterville Valley. Though I still cranked out a few cross-country skiing treks, by Sunday’s drive home my whole body was a warzone. Upon arriving home, sleeping, waking up and trying to read, I realized adding to the pressing drudgery was the novel I was reading.  When I could once again stomach reading, I put that one down and picked up The Night Circus. It nursed me back to health, I’m sure.

Finally on Wednesday I felt recovered enough to contribute to family life. I watched the DVD I picked up to fix my life: Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. (See next post.)

Yesterday, as I was ‘containerizing’ our green hutch, it struck me – the authors – Erin Morgenstern/Julie Morgenstern. I checked to make sure. 

Of all the choices in the library last Friday, what forces brought those two namesakes to my attention? Both lifesavers.


It’s a strange experience – recording a song over and over, honing lyric and melody, and not knowing exactly where you stand in your own beliefs.

It’s okay. I believe in love. I do. I believe in it in all its forms. All its religious, spiritual, atheistic and action oriented expressions.

Originally I wrote the lyric in (nearly) complete immersion in catholocism in its lower case iteration. Matthew 11:28-30 was part of my life being renewed. In my thirties I went through a very painful times. Two young, beautiful children and a challenging marriage, made all the more challenging by my own inner troubles. The pain became so intense that I sought help – voluntarily hospitalizing myself for a few days until I could get the help I needed. I got that help and for that I am forever grateful.

I don’t recall exactly when it was – but I found myself in the sanctuary of this small catholic church in Southborough – St. Matthew Church. I was feeling particularly shredded and walked up to the bible, randomly opening it. My eyes fell on Matthew 11:28-30 – the chorus lyric of this song. 


Leaving Neverland. 

From the Internet I learned of and from the two young men Michael Jackson sexually abused and I’ve been forced to accept that very sick man caused some people deep harm.

I know enough to know that we many times cause harm because we’ve been similarly harmed. But I also know there are many who have been harmed who choose to cause no one else that harm. Blessings on them. 

The young Michael Jackson was a musical and performing mentor of mine. As an adult I heard the accusations but held some hope that it was not what it seemed.

It was.

I’m so very very sorry for those two little boys – one seven years old. Rather than a one hundred million dollar lawsuit from his estate against HBO for airing the two-part documentary, Leaving Neverland, would that that one hundred million was offered to organizations that help heal those who have been thusly harmed.


It’s the deep blue morning sky with rich green-needled conifers sliced by silver-white birches that fill a mind re-envisioning cross-country ski treks. The intake of crisp, clean mountain air surely converted to its gaseous state from the pure liquid hydrogen-oxygen blend burbling beneath ice trailside. With single digit air, a heart beats rapidly with hands fully warmed from constant muscle core firing movement. And the sun beams down on a beaming face, lifted in short hiatus, as if lounging on a beach in Belize.


All politics aside – which for me may be impossibility – our present American era is causing my inner workings profound cognitive disequilibrium – stretching the horizons of my understanding. 

These past four years I have heard, seen and felt effects from our president and administration that go against every grain of what I experience as humane and just. In no way am I proclaiming all my statements, actions, thoughts and feelings are infallibly humane and just. THEY ARE NOT! But through my growing and learning I’ve constructed an inner matrix of what I know, for me, to be commonly good and decent.

And I am being challenged to accept there are just as strong and determined minds and beings having as avidly developed inner matrixes knowing, for them, what is commonly good and decent – apparently profoundly distinct from mine. 

And these are my companion human beings. My companion human beings with whom I must find common ground in order to respectfully live side by side – all politics aside.


I sat warmed by the sun on our back condo porch up north with Eckhart Tolle’s ‘Power of Now’ in hand. He opens with the story of being suicidal when suddenly flooded with the knowledge of ‘mind’ and ‘no mind’.

I sense ‘no mind’ is the state most peaceful spiritual folks, who lean toward kindness, discover. It’s not that kindness and love dwell there. I sense it’s our thoughts, worries, grievances, devotions, and associations with all things material and human made lose their prominent placement, making room for radical acceptance.

One of Tolle’s suggestions I’ve found helpful is to observe my thoughts. When I go to this observing place I experience peace. Life feels real when I don’t associate my THINKING with ME. I observe my habitual thinking – mostly negative pressure and criticism directed towards me – and practice not attaching any meaning to them.

That, for me today, is ‘no mind’. That, for me, is peace. 


I spoke with a friend and learned aspects of living in Hopkinton I have not encountered. For 32 years I have not been aware of encountering Hopkintonians who, living into their fallacy of ‘other’, silently turn heads away when greeted by some; of country clubs and potential landlords not returning phone calls due to foreign sounding accents; of more moneyed individuals cringing while entering more modest dwellings. More distressingly, I learned that some who receive such treatment move out, or give serious thought to moving out, of Hopkinton.

This friend staunchly counsels them, ‘No’ – that if they do move out to live in neighborhoods with people who look like them, they take away the chance for others to learn. We need to keep progressing so those of us still suffering from archaic fears can overcome them. 

I confess to my own archaic stereotyping, prejudicial, discriminatory thoughts. I am humbled, frustrated and embarrassed when they come to mind. I know they are untrue. I practice immediate horizontalization – I look through my mist of lies to the truth of our sameness. It works.

And I feel deeply grateful to this friend who is willing to stay and tolerate others’ unevolved behaviors to help us learn we are safe living well and beside one another.