In praise of Kathie Melocco and her ontic, the master Viktor Frankl: Have you reached a turning point in your life?

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=storytelling+legacy+images&qpvt=storytelling+legacy+images&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=0C650A23C3E6719EC7186FB12A8E4D3FE0E96ECB&selectedIndex=102

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=kathie+melocco+images&qpvt=kathie+melocco+images&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=00EE0AE89A9348D37C5E90E04009EA635D7E8C6D&selectedIndex=41

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http://thebravediscussion.com/2012/10/mans-search-for-meaning-one-of-the-most-influential-books-of-our-time/

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Man’s Search for Meaning:   One of the most influential books of our time

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You know My Name Not My Story

Have you reached a turning point in your life? I call it being stuck in the doldrums? Often we are forced to stop and listen. It often takes something painful, sometimes even tragic to listen to our inner compass. When we do we often find one door after another opens with relative ease, as though it’s breathing a fresh breeze or new life into us.

I’ve just finished writing my first e-book, based on this very personal experience, inspired by the ProBlogger Event at the weekend. It’s been a task that for some reason that I have put off for some time. However now just seemed right.

So often we judge others without knowing their story. We know their name but not their story and, failing to understand we are all searching for meaning in our lives. My new e-book, Storytiser is an 8 step process to help you develop a life plan that will give you clarity and direction for living a great life story, to filter your decisions through a life theme.  If you are like me you, we often have so much going on in our lives that we forget to focus on the things that really matter, that will make a difference to our own wellbeing and happiness. It’s based on my own experience so take the things that work for you and if it resonates try them. I’ll share with you how this simple process worked for me. It blends the discipline of storytelling with the philosophy of acclaimed psychologist Viktor Frankl. I thought I’d share the therapeutic philosophy of Frankl with you today. And if you haven’t read this little wonder, add it to your must read list now.

Viktor E. Frankl was Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School. He spent three years during World War II in concentration camps, including Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Dachau, where he formulated many of his key ideas. Logotherapy, his psychotherapeutic school, is founded on the belief that striving to find meaning in life is the most powerful motivation for human beings.

Frankl wrote this book in just nine days after being released  and it outlines what he thought about for the years he was imprisoned – the importance of finding meaning.

There are three ways to glean meaning that I took away from this book and applied them to our lives in 2012:

 

1. From work. contributing to life. being useful and having a legacy.

 

2. From experiencing. from engaging with ideas, art, nature and people.

 

3. And from rising above suffering.

Frankl noticed that that the prisoners who survived had this in common: they nourished their inner life. In fact, he noted, the more sensitive people in the camps – those you’d expect to crumble – survived better.

Frankl wrote 39 books, which were published in 38 languages. His best-known, Man’s Search for Meaning, gives a firsthand account of his experiences during the Holocaust, and describes the psychotherapeutic method he pioneered. The Library of Congress called it one of “the ten most influential books in America.” Frankl lectured on five continents.

According to Frankl, the book intends to answer the question “How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner?” Part One constitutes Frankl’s analysis of his experiences in the concentration camps, while Part Two introduces his ideas of meaning and his theory of logotherapy. It is the second-most widely read Holocaust book in the bookstore of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

At the time of the author’s death in 1997, the book had sold over 10 million copies and had been translated into 24 languages.

Viktor Frankl founded logotherapyViktor Frankl, is credited with the third Viennese school of psychology after Freud and Adler suggested the primary longing in man is for a sense of meaning. As Miller so eloquently captures it: “He developed Logotherapy as a way of helping clients experience meaning in their lives. Frankl’s Logotherapy involves having a project to work on, somebody to share love with and a redemptive explanation for their suffering.”

Nothing in my life (nor probably in your own) will ever compare to the horrors Frankl experienced in the Nazi camps. But as he tells us in his book, there’s something everyone can learn from his experiences. This is a thought provoking book that sounds dry but within there is a real treasure to be found. A life without meaning, is a life without purpose. Have you read it? I’d love to know how this little book touched you?

To accompany this post, I found this rare clip  of Frankl from 1972 where Frankl delivers his own powerful message about the human search for meaning — and the most important gift we can give others.

 

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http://kathiemelocco.net.au/events-workshops/storytiser-team-building-workshops/

Storytiser Team Building Workshops

Kathie at seminarKathie’s team building ‘storytiser’ workshops include:

  • Beginner’s storytelling: Breaking down and      remaking a story, how to engage an audience, and vocal technique.
  • Voice work: Nurturing your voice, breathing,      projection, and how to add vocal colour.
  • Narrative structure: Plot, story and narrative      arc, the use and abuse of archetypes, and what makes a tale interesting.
  • Using songs and stories together: Ways of      integrating song, music and rhythm into performance, plus useful sources      of material.
  • Organisational culture stories and the power      of the corporate culture book

About Storytelling

Possibly the oldest art form, and  something we’ve done around campfires for tens of thousands of years, storytelling opens windows into other times and cultures. It can draw us into imaginary worlds and shed insight into our shared human condition. In the last 20 years there has been a renaissance of storytelling. Professional storytellers work in business, schools, prisons, museums and art centres, while adult storytelling clubs meet in pubs and cafés around the country.

Mounting evidence suggests that stories and the storytelling process can promote recovery, inspire hope, trigger insight and personal growth — in short, “heal.” And a growing number of storytellers feel challenged to work outside of entertainment venues, in prisons, hospitals, homeless shelters, and with individuals in crisis and/or with special needs.

Storytelling has come to be associated with reading Cinderella from a book to children, but it is much richer than that. For one thing, a storyteller relies on memory and improvisation rather than on the written word. They are always engaged with the audience, making eye contact, taking their listeners on a journey with them. Stories range from gypsy tales, urban legends and African trickster fables, to the Mahabarata, an ancient Indian epic which can take nine days to tell.

StorytiserThe power of the story for business presentations, communication of organisational culture and values and for marketing should not be under estimated. Research is now showing that humans are biologically hardwired to remembers stories over all forms of other communication.

To help you understand the universality of storytelling today consider the  broad themes that modern storytelling covers:

  1. Oral Storytelling – cross cultural, religious      and more
  2. Arts Storytelling – theatre, film, art,      literature etc.
  3. Children’s Storytelling – imagination, play,      education
  4. Business Storytelling – including old      media(newspapers) PR, Advertising, Marketing, organisational culture and      more
  5. Cause – social justice – advocacy and changing      the story
  6. Personal Biography – our inner story that we      tell ourselves (psychology)
  7. Healing Storytelling – narrative medicine as a      way to diagnosis and indeed heal
  8. Social Media Storytelling – Brand YOU (new      media -connection and electronic)

Crucial elements of all stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.

Storytelling is a powerful tool for bringing about change as it allows us to share a significant fact wrapped up in emotion and thus commit it to memory along with our own narrative and interpretation of message and significance. Learn how to tell a compelling story at Kathie’s one day workshops. Ideal for staff  kickoffs, marketing brainstorms, company values and more.

book a workshopSee more about what Kathie does, and how you could enjoy the experience of hosting a professional storyteller at your event or workplace.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/thriving-learning-having-wisdom-are-about-getting-up-each-morning-with-intention-clarity-commitment-to-seek-nurture-connection-along-lifes-healthy-healing-path-of-inner-nouris/

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Thriving, learning, & having wisdom are about getting up each morning with intention, clarity, & commitment to seek & nurture connection along life’s healthy, healing path of inner nourishment & peace of mind

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-extraordinary-sage-viktor-frankl-only-then-through-the-power-of-using-the-past-for-living-and-making-history-out-of-what-has-happened-does-a-pe/

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the great master Viktor Frankl    —

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdXtGV5misE

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Valentines Day One Billion RisingWorkout Music PlaylistMindfulness Practice

http://www.lvrj.com/living/you-don-t-have-to-die-to-go-to-hell-but-trips-there-hurt-190578441.html

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Sometimes you have to go to hell [deepest self-reflection, unlovely as well as lovely].

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Oh, I’m NOT talking about religion here.

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In fact, I don’t use the word “hell” very often to describe some afterlife place of deliberate torment as punishment for not belonging to the right religion.

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No, when I say you sometimes have to go to hell, I mean a very immediate, very real, “here and now” experience [existential introspection].

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You don’t have to die to go to hell. Though going there will feel like dying.

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Hell paralyzes normal thinking and feeling. Sleeping and eating become less necessary. It is dark and empty down there. In hell, some people cry and wail and clutch carpet. Others sit, dazed, in unlit rooms for minutes or hours on end. Not much use for words in hell. But, if you’ve ever been there, you know. You remember.

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You cannot take any prior learning, wisdom or life experience into hell with you. You can’t even take what you learned the last time you were there. If you could, it wouldn’t be hell.

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We go to hell with nothing. We go to hell to be nothing, for a necessary while, because hell burns down the identity in which we have heretofore reveled in supreme confidence [leave behind your inflated ego!].

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A variety of circumstance and happenstance can summon us to hell. But the different occasions have in common a grief beyond knowing.

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Beyond words. A loss beyond measuring. Someone dies. Someone betrays you. The one and only love of your life … leaves. Maybe you have a random, capricious, could-have-happened-to-anybody accident that leaves someone dead. Disfigured. Permanently disabled. Or maybe you are confronted with the consequences and humiliation of your own egregious dereliction. Grave moral failure. You burn down your life, reputation and important relationships in an act of wanton, desperate stupidity and selfishness.

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Hell is the place we go to face eviscerating, sledgehammer loss. Loss that changes you. Forever you’ll be different.

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When life demands our descent into hell, we have two choices.

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We can go.

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Or we can refuse to go, at least for a while. Sometimes for a long while. But woe to the person who puts off this journey.

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Because every strategy for putting off this journey leads to … hell. But it’s a different hell than the life-changing (if terrifying) descent described above.

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The hell we enter by putting off hell is “mere suffering,” as opposed to a meaningful suffering. It is a pathos. An absurdity, as opposed to a redemption.

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Alcoholism, for example, can be seen as a strategy for putting off hell. I’ll never forget my friend who, 20 years sober, said: “There should be a sign on the door of AA meetings that says ‘Sobriety is Hell.’ Because the first thing that happens to drunks who stop drinking is … it gets worse. And then it gets better.”

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There are treasures in hell. My spiritual director spoke of two treasures, specifically: “In hell you will meet your True Self,…  and you will meet God as you have never known him before.”

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No one can accompany you to hell. If someone could go with you, it wouldn’t be hell. Friends, family, beloved mates – these people can walk you to the entrance of hell. They can wait for you on the rim of hell. But hell, by definition, is a place we go alone.

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Twice in my life I’ve been to hell. It changes everything. Both times the experience made for more of me. That is, my True Self. I had more depth. More humility. I learned more about love and gratitude.

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But that’s not to say the journey is without cost. One of the costs, of course, is the way the journey changes the names and faces in your innermost trusted circles.

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When you come out of hell, there will be people standing there with you and for you who you never would have imagined would still be standing there.

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And, likewise there will be people not standing there any longer who you would have bet your life would still be standing there.

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The former will surprise and delight you. The latter will break your heart.

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Those relationships will never be the same. And you’ll never understand either list. It will always be a mystery.

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I’m saying there’s nothing like going to hell for showing you what friends, family and soul mates are made of.

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Hell sifts through the pretenders.

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Who, in your life, was still standing there when you came out the other side of hell?

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/ambivalence-killed-jesus-the-people-waved-palm-branches-on-sunday-singing-hosanna-hey-come-friday-they-shouted-to-free-barabbas-same-crowd-when-you-stand-too-close-to-beautiful/

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Ambivalence killed Jesus. The people waved palm branches on Sunday, singing “Hosanna hey.” Come Friday, they shouted to free Barabbas. Same crowd. When you stand too close to beautiful, bright lights, you find yourself deeply ambivalent about the way that light shines on parts of yourself, not so beautiful, not so bright.  — sage Steven Kalas

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Astrid Preston

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/writing-and-eventually-dying-a-good-death-expressing-sharing-love-to-the-end/

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+of+a+writer+in+deep+thought&qpvt=images+of+a+writer+in+deep+thought&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=FC4083F995FD47F1E3C39EAC4D1A970867E60C12&selectedIndex=89

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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I write to live authentically — “having been” is the surest kind of being, per great sage Viktor Frankl

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Usually, to be sure, man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness [the “now”]  and overlooks the full granaries of the past [reflective lookback] –

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wherein he had salvaged once and for all his deeds, his joys

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and also his sufferings.

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Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with.    

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[for example, I dream of being loved & wanted in the most beautiful way, & even if this dream is not reality, such thought/”unction” comprises my strength & “positive/right” attitude, even in the starkest moment of despair/seemingly hopeless predicament/state of nonexistence-nonbeing closest to death itself, having been forsaken all the way around   —

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which is why Jewish Viktor Frankl’s dream amid the Holocaust even when facing down the death chamber/firing squad was “the angels are in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”   Ohh, so true!!]

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I should say   ”having been”  is the surest kind of being.

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2782.Viktor_E_Frankl?page=2

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‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved –

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but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ “

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From “Logotherapy in a Nutshell”, an essay” Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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The reality of life is the luck or unluck of the draw [a crapshoot]  —

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“fair” & “unfair” are nonexistent in life’s vocabulary —

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life “just is.”  

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Thence, how I deal with setbacks is the key to existence, not the external factual triggers [to despair/hopelessness of predicament].  

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/54285947.html

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In this gaping hole of despair & hopelessness of one’s predicament is a crushing emptiness and an aloneness that can make you lose your mind and a sadness that can make your heart question the wisdom and the relevance of continuing to beat — a sadness no person thinks one can bear alone.

On some days, very much to wish it would stop beating.

To die of unrequited love.  Van Gogh didn’t shoot himself in the head.   He shot himself in the heart. He saw reality so deeply and clearly, yet could not ultimately disconnect his heart [“be not of this world” — self-respect despite this indifferent and tragic sentient life] from this reality or the other people in it.

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Van Gogh died because, in the end, he could not differentiate himself [self-respect] from the Collective Unconscious [our indifferent & tragic lack of empathy/compassion in our broken/flawed sentient nature] into which he was compelled to wander.    

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My own epiphany, but I always was a wanderlust, dreaming of beautiful landscapes and never-seen places.   Last night I dreamed that my long ago deceased uncle from Kona [symbolizes the love which my ohana/kazuko progeny Minnie/Donna still have for me] showed me a breathtaking vista of a mountainscape ahead of us as we gazed from the seashore toward the distant horizon.    This “awesome dream come true” despite my 3 other Hilo family members having ignored me yesterday at McDonald’s in Hilo.    I could’ve unconsciously nightmared over forsaken-ness, but such did not manifest.    Wow!

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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sharing grief puts a healing distance between us and the pain — this is why storytelling matters

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Share the suffering. The opportunity to tell the story of our suffering to a compassionate and skillful listener is helpful beyond measure. Simply in the telling and retelling, we begin to shift perspective, to put a healing distance between us and the pain.

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inspired by wordsmith Steven Kalas’ reasons for writing    –

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Art_is_expression_of_self_shared_with_the_world.html

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Art is expression of self shared with the world

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How did I learn to write?    Great teachers along the way, including but not limited to the Hayakawas & Nishiharas of my formative teen years.

Why do I write?   Some people keep a diary. Some people write in a journal. Some people keep meticulous photo albums, chronicling important moments, times, places and people.

I write about my observations and experiences.

If it moves me deeply, it will show up in my written words. If it opens my heart, it will show up in a written format. If it compels me in paradox, if it makes me tremble with humility and gratitude, if it mobilizes outrage or contempt, it will become a written composition. If I fall in love with you, if I despise you, if you bless me, if you hurt me badly enough, don’t be surprised if you end up in a written verse.

If it makes me hope, makes me ache, makes me cry, then I hand it to heaven, where it ricochets off eternity and pours itself into my Jung archetype named Shadow. Then it pours back out into the world.

Shadow has more than once saved my sanity. Maybe even my life.

I write to know myself better.

Here’s a paradox:  Real art is, for the true artist, an act of the purest selfishness, which, because it is pure selfishness, moves out into the world as extravagant generosity.

Selfishness? Yes. A true artist is never first a performer. He/she doesn’t do it for us. The artist is lost in self. For self. Obedient to a voice that cannot be ignored or denied. Art is near hedonism. A naked reveling. It includes suffering, yes, but even the agony is more a masochistic pleasure.

Generosity? Yes. The artist’s brazen and shameless desire to dig so deeply into self produces art that forces us to dig more deeply. To see ourselves more transparently. Art is a cosmic mirror.

Deciding to listen to my Shadow is deciding to see me naked. Though you won’t know that while you’re listening. If my art moves you, then you will see yourself naked. And that’s always a good thing. People come to an artist’s art as a voyeur. But what they spy on, in the end, is themselves.

Does that make me an exhibitionist? I can live with that. It’s a fair cop.

I’ve written much before which never made the trek into our current  internet era. The first one was about nostalgia of love lost. The last one is this composition here. But, as sage Steven Kalas says about his songwriting,  it’s Steven’s song No. 92 that probably would tell you the most about why I write for myself to share with you, the world.

My heroes have always been naked/ Warm in the clothes of their transparent identity/ Maybe we all should be naked/ With nothing to hide there’s no need to pretend not to see

But shame is the name of the master who must be obeyed/ And after a while we learn to like being a slave

The naked man/ He takes a stand/ He lets the people see/ We point and laugh/ We’re taken back/ But freedom lives in authenticity.

Like a lot of songs, it works on several levels at once. On the most personal level, it’s about my passion to live authentically. I don’t always get there, but I respect myself when I try.

On another level, it’s about my admiration of people who do live “nakedly.” Was John Lennon a card-carrying narcissist? Well of course. But I get why he posed naked with Yoko on the album cover of “Two Virgins.” He was trying to crawl out from under the deadly weight of Beatlemania, a fame he sought, created and then rightly abhorred.

And later, I was surprised to discover it’s a song about my spirituality. In Steven’s case, it’s a song about Jesus.

My heroes are those who live naked/ The man that you meet still the man who is there when you leave/ But brave are the ones who live naked/ Most people are hiding and naked is their enemy

Naked is a mirror in which there is no choice but to see/ So we break the mirror and then blame it for making us bleed

The naked man/ He takes a stand/ He lets the people see/ His naked fate/ Humiliate/ What people hate is authenticity.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-morley/writing-tips-6-ways_b_1591232.html#s1088091&title=Workshops_work

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We are born writers in the sense that we are born storytellers. Language is who we are to the world.  Our ability to tell our story with clarity and panache will make the difference between being heard and being ignored.

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We like to think that artistic genius, at least, feeds on solitude. It is not uncommon for new writers to worry that they will become less distinct, less original, if they spend too much time sharing ideas with their peers. But consider the case of Jorge Luis Borges. When he went to Europe as a young aspiring poet, he found his feet (and an education) in the tertulias of Madrid. Returning to his native city of Buenos Aires, he continued the habit. The almost nightly conversations he had with Adolfo Bioy Casares and other writers fed directly into his writing, and into theirs. If Latin America literature then went off in a direction not yet possible in Europe and North America, it is largely thanks to this unruly group of literary hybrids, who drew as much inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe and G.K. Chesterton as they did from Shakespeare and Verlaine. They gave each other the courage to be break conventions, question received ideas, and imagine the unimaginable.       – Maureen Freely
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Write, firmly believing that imagination is the quintessential self/the quintessential way of “knowing” the world. This imaginative knowing has the potential to dispel barriers that isolate individuals and communities. Exercising imaginative “knowing” allows, always, for a potentially transcendent narrative, that is trans-global, trans-cultural and speaks to our common humanity.    – Jewell Parker Rhodes
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http://www.pccs.va/index.php/en/news2/attualita/item/787-suspense-novelist-writes-about-people-finding-hope-redemption

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Koontz acknowledges he has “a very low boredom threshold” and wants to be entertained by what he writes.   He says he’s been asked, “I want you to write a book that’s very dark and very noir and everybody dies in the end and there’s no meaning to anything.” To which he replies, “You don’t need me to do that. It’s everywhere.”

“That’s not what I do,” Koontz said. “I write about people trying to find hope and redemption in their lives from suspense.”

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/i-will-die-a-good-death/

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I will die a good death — as my greatest hero Viktor Frankl said, “having been” is the surest kind of being, though it cannot inspire envy [life is full of suffering].

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I love and am loved.   I want to love and want to be loved.   I am true to my heart and I lead with my heart.    I will die a good death.    No one but me decides my attitude when I die.  

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Like basketball/football, I process my life in 4 quarters of 20 years each.    The first quarter was schooling in preparation for the workplace.    The second quarter was raising a family.   The third quarter was paying down the sundry bills which came with a life full of activity.   My final & fourth quarter consists of retirement & emotional preparation of inevitable death.    I will die a good death. 

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I always have an immutable enduring image of Wainaku Pua Lane’s Albert Pacheco Sr. as he rested his head in his lap while sitting on the shoreline boulder by our Wailuku river “singing bridge” astride our ubiquitous lighthouse  — contemplating his own death of terminal cancer while still in his middle ages.     Ohhh so sad.   For the first 3 quarters of my frenetic “frantic” life  — I never “got” [captured] the feel of mortality that coursed thru Albert’s soul as he engaged the end of his life.    Now I “get it.”    I will die a good death.   I am at peace with myself.     Albert is my hero.     Albert’s example is my example.     Die a good death.    No one owns my attitude with my death.   Life’s journey in deepest selfhood always in the end is walked alone. 

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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Albert walked wondrously to his inner peace.   Albert was the greatest husband, father, & friend.    And the humblest!     Albert is my hero.

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Hope Kiko Nakamura of downtown Hilo’s Kino’ole St. also is my hero.   A native of Japan, she is Amaterasu, my sun goddess who is kindness personified.    Nihonjin are very bigoted because of our racial homogeneity [master race psychomania], so to speak.    Not Hope Maki, who is the most loving person around — to people of all colors, social classes, manners, ages.     Also, I have never seen an older woman any unthinkably prettier than Hope Maki — yet she is our humblest person, singularly divine like Albert Pacheco.     Hope Maki and Albert Pacheco are my immortal heroes — forever inspiring — every generation should observe, study, and learn from these 2 sublime archetypes [greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation][like Jesus & like Scripture’s Pericopes/Parables, my dynamic duo above exemplifies such confounding deepest Truths/frustration-reversal of conventional expectations — huli’au/upside down outcomes but the righteous results, so to speak].      Their interior contemplative humblest nature undyingly are for the ages, and they inspire me to no end.   

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/in-praise-of-gautam-mukundas-extraordinary-study-indispensable-when-leaders-really-matter/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/sublime/

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Scripture as eternal true myth [according to a believer] per processing a la Jesus:

Turning common-sense ideas upside down, confounding the expectations of His audience: He/Jesus preached of “Heaven’s imperial rule” [traditionally translated as “Kingdom of God“] as being already present but unseen; He depicts God as a loving father; He squares shoulders with outsiders and criticizes insiders.   Christ evokes not simply an apocalyptic eschatology/end-time, but more critically a sapiential eschatology, which encourages all of God’s children to repair the world.     Since Christ lived and preached in an oral culture, scholars expect that short, memorable stories or phrases are more likely to be historical and factual.

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Irony:   Based on several important narrative parables [such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan], scholars decided that irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations were characteristic of Christ’s style.   Does a pericope/concise passage illustrate opposites or impossibilities?   If it does, it’s more likely to be authentic.   For example, “love your enemies.”     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar#Criteria_for_authenticity
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Not just the Parables but the  beatitudes feature the dramatic presentation and reversal of expectations that are characteristic of Christ.  The poor are accepted as constituting the primary recipients of the Good News and, therefore, as having an inherent capacity of understanding it better than anyone else. That’s pretty threatening for any comfortable Christian. For not only do we have to help the poor, not only do we have to advocate on their behalf, we also have to see them as perhaps understanding God better than we do!  But that’s not a new idea:  It goes back to Jesus. The poor, the sick and the outcast “got” him better than the wealthy did.   Perhaps because there was less standing between the poor and God.   Less stuff [pride].   Maybe that’s why Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, “You will have treasure in heaven, and follow me.” Like I said, pretty disturbing, then and now. It’s hardly “the opposite of the Gospel,” as ousted Fox News pundit Glenn Beck said.      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-james-martin-sj/glenn-beck-vs-christ-the-_b_698359.html

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On real time forgiveness, note the instance of the man who accidentally spills a bowl of  chicken soup on another man.   The other man is aghast, then lets out the amazing Grace of a punchline   –  “Well, at least I love the comforting aroma of chicken soup!!”   Wow!!

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Jesus always embraced the reproached, the outcasts, of society, knowing that these imperfect ones had a closer affinity with God, more so than the overproud sentients full of contemptuous opinions and

scathing comments vs. others. To Jesus, imperfection is beautiful, as we grow in God’s Holiness. His Holiness, is not outcome dependent for us on earth.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/17/obamas-use-of-scripture-lincoln-king_n_2494113.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Bible: Obama’s Use Of Scripture Has Elements Of Lincoln, King

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President Obama will publicly take the oath of office with Bibles once owned by his political heroes, Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. One Bible was well read, but cited cautiously. The other granted scriptural sanction to the civil rights movement.

When Obama lifts his hands from the Bibles and turns to deliver his second inaugural address on Monday (Jan. 21), his own approach to Scripture will come into view. Characteristically, it sits somewhere between the former president and famous preacher.

His faith forged in the black church, Obama draws deeply on its blending of biblical narratives with contemporary issues such as racism and poverty. But like Lincoln, Obama also acknowledges that Americans sometimes invoke the same Bible to argue past each other, and that Scripture itself counsels against sanctimony.

Obama articulated this view most clearly in a 2006 speech, saying that secularists shouldn’t bar believers from the public square, but neither should people of faith expect America to be one vast amen corner.

“He understands that you can appeal to people on religious grounds,” said Jeffrey Siker, a theology professor at Loyola Marymount University in California who has studied Obama’s speeches. “But you also have to be able to translate your case into arguments that people of different faiths, or no faith, can grasp.”

Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, a close spiritual adviser to the president, said Obama often starts the day by reading Scripture.

One “great source of encouragement in my life,” Obama has said, is Isaiah 40:31: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

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Obama seldom attends church since moving into the White House but occasionally alludes to his private faith in public speeches. More often, he cites Scripture to connect with traditions and arguments familiar to most Americans, if only faintly.

“He is a leader who wants to approach challenges from many different aspects of our lives,” Hunter said. “Not just intellectual, but also moral, and he finds Scripture to be a way of communicating values that many of us share.”

Like many liberal Protestants, Obama often emphasizes Bible passages that urge compassion for the poor and downtrodden.

“He uses those Scriptures more than any other type,” said Hunter. “It has to do with assisting those in need, rather than moral commands about sin,” Hunter said.

As Hunter notes, occupying the bully pulpit gives presidents license to cite Scripture, and Obama is far from the first to use it.

Bill Clinton alluded to the Psalms while asking for forgiveness during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and George W. Bush cited Scripture to forge a personal connection with evangelical Christians.

Obama uses the Bible a bit more broadly.

He has quoted the Sermon on the Mount to explain his economic views, read Psalms to bereaved families in Newtown, Conn., and Tucson, Ariz., and cited the Bible’s Golden Rule to explain his evolving support for same-sex marriage.

During his 2009 inaugural address, Obama cited the Apostle Paul’s admonition to “set aside childish things,” challenging the country to tackle its complex problems.

“Any time anybody quotes Scripture, they are implicitly saying: If you are a person of faith, this is what God is telling us to do,” said Siker.

But like Lincoln, Obama has also used the Bible for the opposite purpose — to argue that no one fully knows the divine design.

“The full breadth of human knowledge is like a grain of sand in God’s hands,” Obama said at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2011. “And there are some mysteries in this world we cannot fully comprehend. As it’s written in Job,’God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways. He does great things beyond our understandings.’”

Of course, not everyone agrees with Obama’s interpretation of Scripture.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson has accused Obama of “dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.” Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Obama has a “phony theology … not a theology based on the Bible.”

But nothing upset conservatives quite like Obama’s citation of the Bible to back same-sex marriage. Even Hunter criticized the president. “You can’t cite one Scripture to interpret or negate other Scriptures,” he said. “But I know for him that was a moral decision.”

That’s precisely why Obama drew on the Bible, said Mary Frances Berry, co-author of “Power in Words: The Stories Behind Barack Obama’s Speeches, from the State House to the White House.”

“What he wants is to have moral authority. Not just to be president, but to have moral authority,” Berry said. “That’s in the black tradition. We talk about the preacher as having moral authority: the ability to convince your audience of the rightness of what you are saying.”

In that tradition, Obama sometimes bookends big speeches with Scripture, Berry said, wedging a challenging message in between.

Despite Obama’s later estrangement from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, he learned at the feet of a rhetorical master, said Martha Simmons, co-editor of “Preaching with Sacred Fire,” an anthology of African-American sermons.

Among the skills Obama gleaned at Trinity UCC is the ability to draw modern messages from ancient texts, and to condense that message into a memorable phrase. It’s called “shorthanding” Scripture, Simmons said.

For example, Obama frequently used the expression “we are our brother’s keeper” during his 2008 presidential campaign. Some evangelicals were perplexed at the citation, noting that it comes from the mouth of Cain, history’s most famous fratricide.

But the message, which Obama used to argue against excessive individualism, made perfect sense to African-Americans, said Simmons. “He was doing what the black community does: understanding the relevancy of the text for our modern context.”

One more rhetorical tact Obama learned from the black church, especially from King: Orators can challenge their audience, but should always end on an uplifting note.

“When all is said and done,” Simmons said, “you leave people with a hopeful word.”

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An interior contemplative “soul” is valued a la Albert, Hope Kiko [& young Kepola Lee in my article on the greatest of leaders —https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/in-praise-of-gautam-mukundas-extraordinary-study-indispensable-when-leaders-really-matter/],   and of course, a la Jesus [or ascetic Buddha or Allah,  for that matter]  –

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my mythic hero Frankie Starlight [Alan Pentony] dares to reach for the stars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV1EYBnPMEY

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Alan Pentony [with Anne Parillaud]

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankie_Starlight

Plot

Frank Bois writes a successful first novel and finds himself looking back over his life. His mother Bernadette (Parillaud) was a French woman who, after the death of her friends and family in World War II, hid herself aboard an Allied war ship heading to Ireland, where she exchanged sexual favors for silence among the soldiers who found her on board. A nice customs agent, Jack Kelly (Byrne), allowed Bernadette to enter Ireland illegally, and they soon became a couple lovers, even though she was already pregnant from one of the soldiers from the ship.

Bernadette soon gave birth to young Frankie (Pentony), who suffers from dwarfism. As he grew older, Frankie develops romantic feelings for Jack’s daughter Emma (Cates), who does not share his feelings, while Jack teaches astronomy to Frankie. Eventually, Bernadette meets Terry Klout (Dillon), an American soldier she had met on the war ship, who offers to marry her. Bernadette and Frankie go with Terry to his home in Texas, but both mother and son feel like they don’t belong there, so they return to the Irish home they loved. An older Bernadette eventually committed suicide, and Frank used his life as source material for his writing.

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Empathy means literally “to enter the pathos.”    

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To enter the pathos is to surrender to all that is tragic, absurd, lost, despairing, meaningless. The word “pathos” is not a derision; it’s an observation.

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Compassion means literally “to suffer with.”

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We bandy these words about too easily. It’s not all that frequently we find people who will really do what are implied in those words. I cherish the people I do find.

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I no longer lift bread and wine. I lift broken, poured out people.   Folks like myself.    My meaning in life is to help others find their meaning.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/when-it-all-ends-we-have-to-let-it-go-so-if-thats-true-why-wait-for-death-why-not-let-it-go-now-and-that-includes-injury-resentment-bitterness-grudges-injustice-and-just-plain-wrong-pla/

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When it all ends, we have to let it go. So, if that’s true, why wait for death? Why not let it go now? And that includes injury, resentment, bitterness, grudges, injustice, and just plain wrong place/wrong time bad luck. — sage Steven Kalas

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/37406449.html

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It seems to take a lifetime to let everything go

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a film about a man who is aging in reverse. He is born with the metabolism, skin, cataracts, arthritis and relative vitality of a man in his late 80s. His life ends some 90 years later as a newborn.

I’m not sure I liked this movie. Not sure how eagerly I’ll be recommending it. It’s long. Slow in spots. Fragmented — the subplots come and go, sometimes concurrently, but several of the roads don’t lead to Rome. Some of the roads just come to a dead stop, or peter out in the middle of nowhere.

In some ways the movie is a 160-minute slice-of-life travelogue, albeit beautifully shot, well-written and well-acted. The makeup and period set designs and wardrobe are by themselves worth the price of admission.

I need a referral to a college professor of literature. See, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a recrafting of a 1921 F. Scott Fitzgerald short story by the same name. And it’s quite possible I just didn’t get it. Me, a guy who really loves to be beguiled and provoked by evocative metaphors in art and literature; well, this one might well have been beyond me.

Is it about death? Mortality? Ageism? Fate? Or possibly that there’s no such thing as fate? Perhaps the story ultimately forces us to face chaos. Perhaps it says that every day is but a toss of the existential dice. All the more reason, of course, to pay attention and give thanks for inexplicable moments of love, courage, beauty, character, truth and joy.

Perhaps the movie is saying that our existential crisis isn’t about growing old. That the crisis would be identical if we were born old and were growing younger. Is that it? Do I get it?

In one scene, a gifted ballet dancer is struck by a car, leg shattered, surviving, but never to dance again. The narration goes to great pains to observe the scores of incidental, random absurdities that fall into place to make this accident happen … as opposed to nearly happening, which is to say not happening at all.

I don’t think I believe in fate. Yet, I am convinced there are moments rightly called destiny. I’m no longer even bothered by the contradiction.  [“fate” relates to events of the future and present of an individual and in cases in literature unalterable, whereas “destiny” relates to the probable future. Fate implies no choice, but with destiny the entity participates in achieving an outcome that is directly related to itself  –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny#Fate    ]

But one subplot was, for me, worth every door that slammed shut in my coronary arteries under the onslaught of nearly three hours of movie theater popcorn butter.

The protagonist Benjamin meets his birth father. The father admits to being horrified by his son’s “old man” appearance at birth. The father explains how he abandoned Benjamin to a benevolent caretaker of a home for the elderly. The father expresses remorse, regret and a wish to reconcile. And Benjamin is rightly offended and angry.

But then we see Benjamin caring for his father, who is now terminally ill. Benjamin walks his father to the grave in love, mercy and compassion, while we listen to his retrospective narrative explain why. He tells us that we can cry, scream, beat our fists, rail against the fates and circumstance and coincidence, wish our lot in life had been different, spend sleepless nights wondering why we didn’t turn left instead of right … “but when it all ends, we have to let it go.”

When it all ends, we have to let it go.

It is often said of death that “you can’t take it with you.” We mean, of course, that material wealth is rendered irrelevant in death. We don’t take bank accounts or MVP trophies or advanced academic degrees or Lexi (that’s the plural of Lexus) or even so much as your seventh-grade perfect attendance certificate with you to the other side of the grave. It is all for nought.

But “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” made me push this pithy colloquialism to a new frontier. It is not only material wealth and earthly accomplishment torn from our grasp by death. It is, well, everything. And that includes injury, resentment, bitterness, grudges, injustice, and just plain wrong place/wrong time bad luck.

When it all ends, we have to let it go.

So, if that’s true, why wait for death? Why not let it go now?

I tell you, the devil is gonna be ticked off.

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Live Life Backward in 2013, Yes!   The New Year’s Resolution:   Inspired by something/someone,  mission on, baby!!

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Live inspired each day.

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As Erwin McManus writes, “There are few things more powerful than a life lived with passionate clarity.”

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/does-your-life-have-purpose/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/randy-pausch-steven-kalas-living-meaningfully/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/harriet-beecher-stowes-prophetic-engine-sage-joan-d-hedrick/

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying

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Top five regrets of the dying

A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?

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Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

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Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”

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Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

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1.   I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

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2.   I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

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3.   I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

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4.   I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

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5.   I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

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What’s your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

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‘Faitheist’: Social Change Through Storytelling

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America is diverse. However, this diversity occurs in safe, isolated pockets that are stagnant and unengaged with one another. Diana Eck, religious scholar and founder of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, notes that diversity is nothing to be proud of. Diversity is the description of a community, like Tufts or America, where people of different beliefs or backgrounds happen to be in the same location. Pluralism, rather, is the “active seeking of understanding across lines of difference.” It is this engagement that breaks down barriers and guards against prejudice. If we want to make pluralism, rather than diversity, a descriptive fact of our community, we need emissaries to navigate cultural boundaries. We need to invite others inside our communities and show them what we value. And we need storytellers.

“Faitheist” works to end this ideological segregation. Chris humanizes atheism by sharing his life and his values; he aims to end the cycle of isolation and tribalism by encouraging others to contribute their own story to our collective narrative. The more we get to know each other, the more our prejudices will dissolve. Toward the end of the book, he notes: “The moment I shared my story as an atheist, others felt more comfortable sharing their own.” “Faitheist” isn’t just a memoir; it’s a continuation of the biographical heritage established by “Roots”, “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Hiroshima” — the books that informed Chris about the radical depths of human suffering and inspired his dedication to justice — but it is also the predecessor to a new generation of compassionate voices articulating their beliefs while serving humanity. Chris’ model of interfaith engagement and storytelling will, I believe, make my university and my country better places — places where diversity actually means something.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/theodicy-suffering-in-the-world-and-the-problem-of-evil-an-afterlife-is-a-cop-out/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/music-divine-heaven-pours-choirs-of-angels-across-her-vocal-chords-and-out-into-the-celestial-sky-above-choose-honeybun-adorned-leann-rimes-or-unadorned-maureen-kilgore/

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Remarkable that one’s experiences span a century or more, if one is lucky enough to live into old age.       My uncle Masaaki 1903-1970 was 50 years older than me.    My grandson Silas is 50 years younger than me.    Uncle Masaaki is a century older than Silas.     My life experiences span a century between Uncle Masaaki and my grandson Silas.    Gatz!    Defy Father Time??

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Of course, one can stretch even longer life’s time span   –   my grandma [Uncle Masaaki’s & my dad’s mama] Tome was 70 years older than me.     I’m just short of age 60, so my lifeblood youngest progeny is my youngest grandchild, my granddaughter Maya, who is 59 years younger than me.     Not equidistant, but 130 years separate my grandma Tome from my granddaughter Maya.     

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Actor William Demarest 1892-1983 was 60 years older than me, thus meeting the equidistance measure, with my granddaughter Maya being 60 years younger than me — the total span being 120 years from William Demarest [or my uncle Bill Cappy Chun, also born in Demarest’s time] to my granddaughter Maya.      Here is prolific vaudeville/longtime character actor Demarest  –

William Demarest Picture

William Demarest(1892–1983)


Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, William Demarest was a prolific actor in movies and TV, making more than 140 films. Demarest started his acting career in vaudeville and made his way to Broadway. His most famous role was in My Three Sons, replacing a very sick William Frawley. Demarest was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting role in the real-life biography…See full bio »

Died:

December 28,     1983         (age 91) in        Palm Springs, California, USA

Still of Humphrey Bogart and William Demarest in All Through the NightStill of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre and William Demarest in All Through the Night
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Of course, this year’s 60th year Diamond Jubilee with majestic Queen Elizabeth had the most amazing aerial displays    –
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but let’s also  remember lusty [yes, con todo mi alma y corazon] Victoria‘s Diamond Jubilee in 1897  [my grandparents were hormonal teens bent on pioneering East to the Hawaiian islands of silk & honey][Victoria is current Queen Elizabeth’s great great grandmother][our greatest modern Hawaiian statesperson Pi’ehu Iaukea 1855-1940 pilgrimaged to England for this tremendous occasion — Pi’ehu was preceded in great diplomacy & leadership by Kamehameha III Kauikeaouli 1813-1854]

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Thence, my immigrant grandparents’ odyssey East transcended both Victoria’s & current Queen Elizabeth’s reigns –   my ojisans/obasans [tutus] experienced both divine queens in all their soulful reigns   – 115 years  [Victoria in 1897 & Elizabeth’s 2012 jubilee] spanning 3 centuries [1800s to 2000s]!!!    Wow!!

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I was 20 when my daughter was born, 40 when my oldest grandchild/mo’opuna kane was born, 50 when my middle grandson was born [among 5 grandchildren, 3 boys, 2 girls], and nearly 60 when my youngest grandchild/mo’opuna wahine was born.    

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My parents whom I worship and miss dearly were 40 years older than me.    My mature parents were tutus/grandparents to me in age chronology, & I am blessed by their mature wisdom/magnanimity & composure/equanimity.  

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My parents died 15 years ago 4 months apart [coincidence  — Mom died of a stroke/Dad died 4 months later from cancer].

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I felt like a grandchild blessed with the most loving & supportive tutus/grandparents in the world, though when I was a barefoot plantation toddler here in Wainaku [Ha’aheo Elem. School atop Kamehameha the Great’s most beautiful pu’u/hilltop]  — I felt terribly embarassed that my parents were fuddy-duddy oldsters vs. my village kid peers’ parents, and that my mom worked, so that I never came home to a homemaker mom who had cookies laid out for me on the kitchen table in our old plantation mill camp.    

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When my parents died 15 years ago, I suddenly crossed over to be a tutu/grandparent to my burgeoning mo’opuna/grandkids.     My grandparents 70 years older than me had died by the time I was born.

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I don’t remember being a child [in a most blessed sense], but undeniably I was blessed/gifted [of the spirits?  Cor./Romans/Ephesians/Peter/etc.] as a grandchild would be, with my dearest parents who were like grandparents to me in wisdom/countenance.    

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Nor do I remember being a parent [my daughter who is approaching middle age at 40  — laughingly tells me that I was a lousy party animal parent but above all else  — I loved my daughter more than anything/anyone in the whole wide world  — and this is the only thing which counted for my daughter, which is/means everything to her!!].    

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But now here I am as a grandparent [by default  — ha ha  ha — still a party animal], and wow, time flies, baby! !!

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And now I am by default/pied piper via hedonism/elan tutu again to 2 dearest “hanai”/emotional attachment — mo’opuna  — Colton age 27 & Jill age 22, grandkids to me in age chronology!   I ask Colton how may I be of service to him/Jill, & Colton shoots back, “Don’t!   Just be you!”    Gatz!   Who am I????   [ha ha    ;-)    ]   

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Foggy bottom, baby   — is my head — spinning like a top???!!    Ha ha!   Dig my hero George Harrison’s video   –   [40 years from age 20 to 60 for me  — go by in the blink of an eye!!][Maui resident Harrison died of cancer at age 58 after 9/11 & a year after this You Tube video was produced] 

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Yes, I hope to make it to age 80 & still feel like a passionate teenager in love!!   Ha ha ha!!        Enjoy [the treats below], baby!!!

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Age is a   figment of our imagination    — our core being is   ageless!       –

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See especially timeclock 4:19 to 5:05 of youtube below about Harrison’s opinion on aging as soulfully deepest youth enjoyed  –

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uVnKjv4fK0&feature=related

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_suicide#Liberalism

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Forms of Existentialist thinking essentially begin with the premise that life is objectively meaningless, and proceed to the question of why one should not just kill oneself  –   they then answer this question by suggesting that the individual has the power to give personal meaning to life and to death by taking one’s own life  [killing oneself].

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But my pal Puerto Rican Frankie Boreliz born 1946, without even a formal grade school education, presciently and prophetically says that a suicidal person suffering from immense loss [of a loved one] needs encouragement and comfort and a re-building of self-respect and self-confidence.  

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Frankie wanted to kill himself after his wife continuously committed adultery with other men, but through the help of Frankie’s psychiatrist Dr. Bloomgarden — Frankie was able to restore Frankie’s self-respect.  

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Frankie’s baby brother Roy did not fare fortunately  — Roy OD’d on painkillers after Roy’s wife left Roy  — and Frankie laments till this day that if only Frankie & others could have carried Roy — literally — and held and comforted Roy  — Roy would be alive and joyful today!!    So sad.   Ohhh so sad  …..

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_wmS9DleJ4

[melody from Minuet in G major — J.S. Bach’s Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach]

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/taboo-talk-about-suicide/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/great-ennoblers-of-wisdom-frankl-kalas-on-the-taboo-topic-of-suicide/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/van-gogh-the-wisdom-and-soul-of-the-ways-of-our-cherished-old-but-do-not-kill-yourself-like-he-did/

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-watt/why-we-write_b_2411000.html

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Why We Write

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By approaching our writing from this perspective we take our thumb off the scale, and in doing so make conscious what was previously unconscious.

And that is the goal of story: to make meaning out of a set of events.

Growth is painful. To make a choice involves discomfort, because it demands that we take responsibility. But it also means that we get to live in reality. To create from a place of fantasy, of groundlessness, is an escape — which is different than losing ourselves in our work by shedding our ego for a deeper connection to our humanity.

Why we write is more important than what we write because our reason for writing influences the content of our work. It is important to remember that we don’t have to do this. The world is not in a rush for more books. There are more great works of fiction, poetry, memoir, history and pumpkin soup recipes than we will ever have time to consume.

If we’re going to write, it is because we have a desire to express ourselves, even if we don’t quite understand what we wish to say. It might just be an inner yearning, but by making the choice to engage in the process rather than the result, our work has a chance to live. In expressing ourselves, we make what we write essential, if only to ourselves, and by beginning from this place, it has a chance to affect the world.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/who-am-i-the-heroes-of-ou_b_2497839.html

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Who Am I? The Heroes of Our Minds

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One of my guilty pleasures is the TV show Ice Road Truckers, which tells the stories of the heavy haulers who deliver vital supplies to remote Arctic territories of Alaska and Canada. In just two months each year, these truckers make more than 10,000 runs over hundreds of miles of frozen lakes, known as ice roads. We get to share in the treacherous drives — and just as important, the personal travails — of the veteran Hugh “The Polar Bear” Rowland, the brash tattooed Rick Yemm, the cold-hating rookie T.J. Wilcox, and former school bus driver and motocross champ Lisa Kelly, one of the rare women to break into this man’s world.

I’m not alone in this fascination. Millions of viewers have tuned into every episode of Ice Road Truckers since its premiere in 2007. And if hazardous driving is not your cup of Joe, how about Ax Men or Dance Moms, Chef School or Bikini Barbershop, Sister Wives or Biggest Loser? Reality TV dominates small-screen viewing these days. Viewers have literally hundreds of choices in vicarious viewing every day, 24 hours a day. And so what if they’re not exactly real.

What explains this trend? Well, it’s in part simple economics. These shows are cheap to make. But it’s more than that. There is something compelling about people’s stories, something that taps into a deep human need for narrative. The pull of Deadliest Catch and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo can really be traced back to ancient story telling traditions, which exist in every world culture. We see parts of ourselves in these modern-day folk tales, just as we construct stories about our own personal realities.

Psychological scientists have in recent years begun to examine this deep human yearning for story — in particular our need to create a coherent narrative identity. They have been using narrative identity as both an indicator of psychological health and a possible tool for enhancing well-being. Much of this work has been done by Northwestern University’s Dan McAdams and Western Washington University’s Kate McLean, who describe their and others’ research in a forthcoming issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

We all construct a coherent narrative identity, according to the emerging theory, from the accumulated particulars of our autobiographies as well as our envisioned goals. We internalize this story over time, and use it to convey to ourselves and others who we are, where we came from, and where we think we’re heading. Consider the example of redemption. McAdams and other scientists have been asking people to narrate scenes and extended stories from their past, and then they code the accounts for key ideas like redemption and self-determination and community. They have found that people who include themes of redemption in their stories — a marked transition from bad to good — are less focused on themselves and more focused on community and the future. They’re more mature emotionally.

This is just one example of how people make narrative sense of the suffering in their lives. Others have studied how people narrate life challenges, such as a painful divorce or a child’s illness, and they have found that those who produce detailed accounts of loss are better adapted psychologically. Their narratives often strike themes of growth and learning and transformation. Importantly, the stories of the well-adapted have endings, positive resolutions of bad experiences.

Psychotherapy is largely about personal narratives. Therapists help their clients to “re-story” their lives by finding more positive narratives for unhappy experiences. Indeed, when scientists asked former psychotherapy patients to describe how they remembered their therapeutic experience, the healthier ones told heroic stories, tales in which they bravely battled their symptoms and emerged victorious. This narrative theme of personal control was also and by far the best predictor of therapeutic success: As patients’ stories increasingly emphasized self-determination, these patients’ symptoms abated and their health improved. The stories themselves created an identity that was mature and well-adjusted.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/04/death-cafe-dying-end-of-life_n_2618226.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Death Cafes Grow As Places To Discuss, Learn About End Of Life

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Death Cafe

A recent Death Cafe in Columbus, Ohio.

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A few dozen Ohioans will meet Wednesday evening in a community room at a Panera Bread outside of Columbus for tea, cake and conversation over an unusual shared curiosity.

For two hours, split between small circles and a larger group discussion, they’ll talk about death. A facilitator may throw out questions to spark the conversation: How do they want to die? In their sleep? In the hospital? Of what cause? When do they want die? Is 105 too old? Are they scared? What kind of funerals do they want, if any? Is cremation better than burial? And what do they need accomplish before life is over?

This is the Death Cafe, an anything-goes, frank conversation on death that’s been hosted at dozens of coffee shops and community centers in American cities from Arizona to Maine since beginning in the Columbus area in July. Death Cafes are modeled on similar gatherings in European cities that have been taking place for several years.

“The goal is to raise death awareness with the view of helping people make the most of their lives. I’m really passionate about death,” said Lizzy Miles, a hospice volunteer and social worker who organizes the Columbus-area cafes, which take place about once a month and draw a range of attendees, from new college graduates to recent retirees.

death cafe

Maria Johnson, left, a social worker, and Lizzy Miles, right, recently co-facilitated one of the monthly death cafes in Columbus, Ohio.

While the discussion at a Death Cafe is always changing, the format stays generally the same. The organizer, who is usually Miles for the Columbus events, uses donations to purchase tea and cake, and leads an icebreaker by sharing what led him or her to explore death.

“I grew up with a lot of personal loss in my family and have had hospice experiences several times,” said Miles, 43. “When my mother died, I had such a positive experience with the hospice volunteer and eventually decided to become a hospice volunteer. And whenever I tell someone what I do, people say two things: ‘Oh, it must take a special person,’ is the first. But then afterwards, whether I’m at the poker table in Vegas or at the craft store aisle, people are suddenly unloading their stories of death.”

Once it gets started, the conversation guides itself. Some people want to talk about creating wills and advance medical directives, such as “do not resuscitate” orders. Others prefer to share near-death experiences and communicating with the dead. And there’s often the question of what happens after death — is there a heaven or hell? Different views on death held by religious traditions also commonly arise.

Miles shot a video for a Kickstarter campaign she used to fundraise for the first Death Cafe.

Death Cafes begin in 2004, when sociologist Bernard Crettaz began hosting pop-up “cafe mortals” in Switzerland. Crettaz, who incorporates the study of death into his research, spread the popular events to Belgium and France. In 2011, the cafes started in the United Kingdom, where Jon Underwood, a former council worker, has hosted nearly two dozen, mostly in London.

Since Miles began North American Death Cafes in Ohio, they’ve taken place in Albuquerque, N.M.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Vancouver, B.C.; Sonoma County, Calif., and Chicago. In late February, there will be one in Belfast, Maine. In March, Calgary, Alberta, will host another. Like in Columbus, each cafe is usually led by a hospice worker, social worker, funeral guide or someone otherwise familiar with discussing and dealing with death.

“A lot of people who come are just trying to figure it out,” said Miles. “They want to figure out what death — and life — should be all about.”

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/if-were-going-to-write-it-is-because-we-have-a-desire-to-express-ourselves-even-if-we-dont-quite-understand-what-we-wish-to-say-it-might-just-be-an-inner-yearning-but-by-making-t/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dont-you-just-love-a-cogent-argument/

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Writing is simplicity and contentment    –

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Playing_with_words_is_fun_as_well_as_meaningful.html

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So, I have come up with three questions. First, why do you write? Second, what inspires you? Third, what do you do to overcome “writers’ block”? — B.F., San Francisco

Why do I write? I write for the same reason people ride roller coasters: It’s a rush. A flow. Movement and rhythm. It’s sensory. Aesthetic.

Words, for me, are like being 8 years old and having a huge bag of Legos. Every day my dictionary contains the same English words, just like every day the bag contains the same Legos. But today I have the chance to assemble them differently! And that’s fun for me.

Why do I write? I write because I love words. I hate jargon, but I love words. Yes, there are a lot of different ways to talk, but words matter.

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The right word can help us apprehend our lives in deeper, more intentional and more meaningful ways.

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There’s a reason the Hebrew verb dabar can mean either “to say” or “to do.” The Hebrew worldview speaks to the power of words: “And God said (emphasis mine), ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

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Words have a creative force. Until we say “I love you,” there will be something about love that does not yet exist.

Am I a ‘word snob’? Oh, maybe. OK, probably. Dammit, yes! But I don’t think my demeanor is snobbish. More relentless and passionate.

I admire excellence and precision with language. I’m a harsh critic of the way American pop culture lazily conscripts the English language willy-nilly.

Americans tend to think of this — when they think about it at all — as another entitled “freedom.” A creative evolving of language. Most of the time it’s exactly the opposite. We broaden, distort and thereby cheapen the meaning of important words. This undermines meaningful discourse.

In the end, it’s worse than merely me not understanding what you mean to be saying; you no longer can accurately apprehend your own experience with anything like clarity and meaning.

For me, there is only one dictionary: The English Oxford Dictionary. Why? Because it alone is willing to guard the power and meaning of the English lexicon.

If I step out on my front porch, and shout “Labeedoowitz” loudly enough, the word “labeedoowitz” will show up in the next printing of the Rand McNally Dictionary.

OK, that’s hyperbole. But, I swear, coin the word “labeedoowitz” in a hit Broadway musical, and it will indeed be automatically included in the dictionary your son and daughter take to college.

I want to chase people to the dictionary. Regularly. I don’t apologize for using important words when just the right word matters.

I love it when I hear a new word. I interrupt people, right there on the spot. I say, “Ooh, I don’t know that word!” That’s a rush for me. A delicious feeling in my brain.

Why do I write? I write because I’m a compulsive communicator who loves to think out loud. Critical thinking turns me on. I like building an argument the way little boys like Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets.

I even have fun when the argument collapses. My best friends will tell you that I flat out love being wrong. Yep, when someone puts a finger clearly and accurately on the flaw in my argument, my brain stem hums as if I’d just bitten into a vanilla creme chocolate. If your argument can derail my argument, then I’m like a little kid with a new toy! I’ll race back home with your argument. Take it apart. Put it back together. Play with it. Integrate into my worldview, now changed.

Bring me a good argument, and I’ll ask you to marry me. (Uh, metaphorically speaking. I am so off the market.)

What inspires me? Life. Love. Tragedy. Suffering. Redemption. Evil. Beneficence. Truth. Beauty. Moral dilemmas. Mystery. The human journey inspires me, in virtually any form or circumstance.

What do I do to overcome “writers’ block”? Two things. First, I surround myself with deadlines imposed by others in authority over me. I’m inherently lazy. Not much of a self-starter. Without deadlines, I tend to sit around congratulating myself for thinking about all the brilliant things I could write. The thing that best “jump starts” my most creative self is the high expectations of others, especially if I have contractual obligations with them.

Second, I overcome “writers’ block” by writing. It’s like pumping the pump handle on a reluctant well. At some point I stop saying, “When I get a worthy idea, I’ll start writing.” No, I just sit down and start banging the keys, until a worthy idea shows up.

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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/01/08/f-scott-fitzgerld-on-writing/

F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing

by

What is the secret of great writing? For David Foster Wallace, it was about fun. For Henry Miller, about discovery. Susan Sontag saw it as self-exploration. Many literary greats anchored it to their daily routines. And yet, the answer remains elusive and ever-changing.

In the fall of 1938, Radcliffe College sophomore Frances Turnbull sent her latest short story to family friend F. Scott Fitzgerald. His response, found in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters (UK; public library) — the same volume that gave us Fitzgerald’s heartwarming fatherly advice and his brilliantly acerbic response to hate mail — echoes Anaïs Nin’s insistence upon the importance of emotional investment in writing and offers some uncompromisingly honest advice on essence of great writing:

November 9, 1938

Dear Frances:

I’ve read the story carefully and, Frances, I’m afraid the price for doing professional work is a good deal higher than you are prepared to pay at present. You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn. When, in short, you have only your emotions to sell.

This is the experience of all writers. It was necessary for Dickens to put into Oliver Twist the child’s passionate resentment at being abused and starved that had haunted his whole childhood. Ernest Hemingway’s first stories ‘In Our Time’ went right down to the bottom of all that he had ever felt and known. In ‘This Side of Paradise’ I wrote about a love affair that was still bleeding as fresh as the skin wound on a haemophile.

The amateur, seeing how the professional having learned all that he’ll ever learn about writing can take a trivial thing such as the most superficial reactions of three uncharacterized girls and make it witty and charming — the amateur thinks he or she can do the same. But the amateur can only realize his ability to transfer his emotions to another person by some such desperate and radical expedient as tearing your first tragic love story out of your heart and putting it on pages for people to see.

That, anyhow, is the price of admission. Whether you are prepared to pay it or, whether it coincides or conflicts with your attitude on what is ‘nice’ is something for you to decide. But literature, even light literature, will accept nothing less from the neophyte. It is one of those professions that wants the ‘works.’ You wouldn’t be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave.

In the light of this, it doesn’t seem worth while to analyze why this story isn’t saleable but I am too fond of you to kid you along about it, as one tends to do at my age. If you ever decide to tell your stories, no one would be more interested than,

Your old friend,

F. Scott Fitzgerald

P.S. I might say that the writing is smooth and agreeable and some of the pages very apt and charming. You have talent — which is the equivalent of a soldier having the right physical qualifications for entering West Point.

Two years prior, in another letter to his fifteen-year-old daughter Scottie upon her enrollment in high school, Fitzgerald offered more wisdom on the promise and perils of writing:

Grove Park Inn Asheville, N.C. October 20, 1936

Dearest Scottina:

[…]

Don’t be a bit discouraged about your story not being tops. At the same time, I am not going to encourage you about it, because, after all, if you want to get into the big time, you have to have your own fences to jump and learn from experience. Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one. If you have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before, so that the thing you have to say and the way of saying it blend as one matter—as indissolubly as if they were conceived together.

Let me preach again for one moment: I mean that what you have felt and thought will by itself invent a new style so that when people talk about style they are always a little astonished at the newness of it, because they think that is only style that they are talking about, when what they are talking about is the attempt to express a new idea with such force that it will have the originality of the thought. It is an awfully lonesome business, and as you know, I never wanted you to go into it, but if you are going into it at all I want you to go into it knowing the sort of things that took me years to learn.

[…]

Nothing any good isn’t hard, and you know you have never been brought up soft, or are you quitting on me suddenly? Darling, you know I love you, and I expect you to live up absolutely to what I laid out for you in the beginning.

Scott

For more wisdom on the writing life, see Zadie Smith’s 10 rules of writing, Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 guidelines for a great story, David Ogilvy’s 10 no-bullshit tips, Henry Miller’s 11 commandments, Jack Kerouac’s 30 beliefs and techniques, John Steinbeck’s 6 pointers, Neil Gaiman’s 8 rules, Margaret Atwood’s 10 practical tips, and Susan Sontag’s synthesized learnings.

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3 Responses to In praise of Kathie Melocco and her ontic, the master Viktor Frankl: Have you reached a turning point in your life?

  1. Pingback: Ante Cuvalo: Stipo Sosic– The Road to Hell and Back — Viktor Frankl’s analog | Curtis Narimatsu

  2. Pingback: Finding meaning in suffering a la great master Viktor Frankl | Curtis Narimatsu

  3. Pingback: Richard Katzev & Ryan Schutt on our greatest modern therapist Viktor Frankl | Curtis Narimatsu

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