In late October, a friend and I went to Pipestem State Park near Athens, West Virginia. The setting is exquisite with abundant forests, changing leaf color, and wonderful mountains. As luck would have it, there was considerable rain on our second day and so we looked for an indoor activity. AHA!!!!! The resident naturalist, LYNN and her dog Alice, were giving a lecture on the demise and resurgence of the American Chestnut Tree. I love chestnuts roasting on an open fire, so it was a perfect time for us to learn about this beautiful tree.
The American chestnut was at one time the most
important food and timber tree species in the eastern half of the U.S because it
could grow rapidly and attain huge sizes. The tree was often the outstanding visual feature in both urban
and rural landscapes. The wood was used wherever strength and rot-resistance were
colonial America, chestnut was a preferred species for log cabins, especially
the bottom rot-prone foundation logs. Later posts, poles, flooring, and
railroad ties were all made from chestnut lumber.
edible nut was also a significant contributor to the rural economy. Hogs and
cattle were often fattened for market by allowing them to forage in chestnut-dominated
forests. Chestnut ripening coincided with the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday
season and turn-of-the-century newspaper articles often showed train cars
overflowing with chestnuts rolling into major cities to be sold fresh or
roasted. The American chestnut was truly a heritage tree.
The chestnut was almost completely destroyed by a
bark fungus accidentally introduced from the Orient in 1904. Within 40 years,
over 30 million acres of chestnut trees were killed from Maine to Georgia and
west to the Mississippi. This tragedy was the largest ecological disasters in
American history. There has been essentially no chestnut lumber
sold in the U.S. for decades, and the bulk of the annual 20-million-pound nut
crop now comes from introduced chestnut species or imported nuts.
The Chestnut’s beautiful, rot-resistant lumber
was used for everything from furniture to fence posts, and its tannin used in
the tanning industry. The loss of the chestnut, at the time of the Great
Depression, had a devastating effect on the people and wildlife of the
Appalachian Mountains. The economic loss from the chestnut’s demise amounted to
untold millions of dollars.
its decimation as a lumber and nut-crop species, the American chestnut has not
gone extinct. The American chestnut has survived by sending up stump sprouts
that grow vigorously in logged or otherwise disturbed sites, but inevitably
succumb to the blight and die back to the ground. It is considered functionally extinct by the
USDA but the blight fungus does not kill the tree’s root system underground.
there are millions of sprouts that can be found in the eastern US. Although the sprouts may only reach 15 feet
or so before the blight kills them, some produce nuts before they die leading
to new generations of trees to grow.
A very small number of mature chestnuts still exist, apparently immune or resistant to the blight. Some foresters have been collecting seeds from these mother trees, with a goal of producing a blight resistant chestnut tree by hybridizing the American chestnut with other species of chestnuts. This is an 18-29-year project.
Meadowview, Virginia is home to The American
Chestnut Foundation’s research farms. This property and its facilities are used
to breed American chestnut trees for resistance to the blight fungus.
Meadowview includes more than 50,000 trees at various stages of the breeding
process, planted on more than 150 acres. The American Chestnut Foundation is
based in Asheville, North Carolina with five regional offices located
throughout the Appalachian region. www.acf.org
If you have never been to Pipestem, put it on your bucket list for weekend adventures. The beauty of the place is wondrous. The McKeever Lodge has lovely rooms and spectacular views. There is outdoor and indoor swimming, a zip line course, a tramway up and down the mountain, four eateries, a golf course, a nature center, a recreation center plus cabins and a campground. www.wvstateparks.com
There is a natural connection between the way we live and the diseases that come our way. Science is just beginning to discover the linkages between specific negative emotions and specific physical disorders, but already many of these connections can be made.
emotions damage the body. When we perceive a situation to be dangerous, adrenaline
and cortisol are released by our bodies to facilitate “flight or
fight” responses. The problem is
that most of the “dangers” that cause stress cannot be resolved by
fighting or running away! I have tried both and neither ever worked.
life is characterized by a tsunami of stressful events and daily pressures
coming at people from every conceivable direction. And yet the real culprit
isn’t the situations which surround us – it is the emotional reactions to these
are not confined just to the mind or heart, but they are often translated into
chemical reactions which occur at both the organ level and the cellular level!
Apparently, the “most damaging” emotions are feelings of
un-forgiveness, anger, worry, fear, resentment, and frustration. Clearly,
no one with an emotional life is immune to the danger, particularly FEAR (FALSE
EVENTS APPEARING REAL!)
negative emotions which place so much stress on our bodies come in two forms:
those that arise out of present situations and those that are embedded in our
deepest memories. These unhealed memories are actually concealed as false
beliefs and negative images in our mind, formed as destructive remembrances.
Our immune system is the primary healing source in our bodies. Stress is
the one thing things that diminishes the immune system. Healing these memories is the only way to allow
the immune system to do its job.
the emotional symptoms of stress starts with reducing the sources of stress in
your life. There are a variety of stress-reducing techniques.You have to find
the ones that work for you in providing relief, but they don’t eliminate the
reasons for your stress.
activities such as running, jogging, and aerobics are a great way to relieve
stress and tension.
physical activities such as yoga or tai chi can help to work your body while
relaxing your mind.
techniques such as contemplative meditation and prayer can strengthen
your emotional responses to stress.
stress in a particular area of your life can help to lessen your exposure to
use some mobile apps, such as Calm, that engage my mind through guided
conversation which helps me manage stress and anxiety.
time, you may find that your resolve against stress becomes stronger and that
your symptoms improve. However, if you
find that you’re still struggling to handle the emotional aspects of everyday
or chronic stress, it may be best to reach out to a mental health professional.
You cannot allow these techniques to mask the underlying problem.
Learning how to
recognize sources of stress in your life is the first step in
managing them. Everyone has different stress triggers, but work stress
tops the list for most people.
Causes of work stress include:
Being unhappy in your job
Having a heavy workload or too much
Working long hours
Having poor management, unclear expectations
of your work, or no say in the decision-making process
Working under dangerous conditions
Being insecure about your chance for
advancement or risk of termination
Having to give speeches in front of
Facing discrimination or harassment at
work, especially if your company isn’t supportive.
Everyday life and personal relationships also
have a big impact.
The death of a loved one
Loss of a job
Increase in financial obligations
Moving to a new home
Chronic illness or injury
care of an elderly or sick family member
Traumatic event, such as
a natural disaster, theft, rape, or violence against you or a loved one.
the stress comes from inside, rather than outside. You can create stress just
by worrying about things. All of these factors can lead to stress:
and uncertainty. When you regularly hear about the threat of terrorist attacks,
global warming, and toxic chemicals on the news, it can cause you to feel
stressed, especially because you feel like you have no control over those
events. Also, major fears develop over
money issues and paying the bills, particularly when an unexpected bill arises
and the budget is thrown off. Shit happens.
and perceptions. How you view the world or a situation can determine whether it
causes stress. For example, if your television set is stolen and you take the
attitude that’s why we have insurance you’ll be far less stressed than if you
think the robbers are coming back to hurt you. Similarly, people who feel like
they’re doing a good job at work will be less stressed than those who worry
that they are incompetent.
expectations. No one is perfect. If you expect to do everything right all the
time, you’re destined to feel stressed when things don’t go as expected.
Any major life change can be stressful — even a happy event like a wedding or
a job promotion. More unpleasant events, such as a divorce, major financial
setback, or death in the family can be significant sources of stress.
stress level will differ based on your personality and how you respond to
situations. Some people let everything roll off their back. To them, work
stresses and life stresses are just minor bumps in the road. Others literally
worry themselves sick.
“I may not be much, but
I’m all I think about”! Most of our thoughts center around job, possessions,
money, or other things we have accumulated. If we tell someone about this and
believe this is our true self, we will be told about our ego problems. Ego is often considered a liability. Yet we must have ego in order to function as
humans. The ego is the compass that helps guide us in the determination of
right from wrong. It helps us make decisions in life.
Where do we go wrong with ego?
People with huge egos are generally considered those who have an insatiable
desire to demonstrate their own self-importance. Boastfulness is not an admirable trait, regardless of one’s
status in life. “Conceited,” “boastful,” “prideful,” “self-centered,”
“arrogant,” are all ways that egocentrics are often described by others. When
in conversation, egocentrics will almost always try to redirect the
conversation back to themselves, and talk about their supposed
successes, accomplishments, and achievements.
Simply put, they need to look good – and they feed off other
people’s validation. They are self -centered and lack empathy for others.
An unhealthy egocentric doesn’t see past their own needs and desires.
Characteristics of a
person with an exaggerated ego:
They are always right—at least in their
own minds. The person who suffers from a huge ego sees their opinion as the
only one that matters. They are driven by what they believe, and facts have
little importance to them.
A person suffering from an inflated ego is never satisfied. They
are addicted to the high they get from reaching goals and achievement dictates
their behavior. They do not live in the now, but know they need more of
everything. In the words of Queen— “I
want it all and I want it now.” If a neighbor gets a new sports car, they want
a more expensive sports car just to show them they are better.
Huge egos do not accept loss. They
must be number one in everything they go after. These folks will do just about
anything to succeed, even if it means hurting another person. They manipulate
the system for their benefit, are disloyal, disrespectful and obnoxious. They
expect the world to revolve around their universe.
The egocentric has given
herself a grandiose sense of self-importance and expects others to see this at
all times. They will exaggerate any talents and
achievements in the course of their lives. They will tell and retell stories of
past events to acquire recognition and admiration. They will embellish their
unlimited success, worth, and beauty so that others see their perfection.
These folks suffer from lack of interpersonal relationships. They
do not understand what it is to support another with their dreams, ideas, or
emotions. They are only concerned with
what anyone can do for them. Empathy
doesn’t exist for the egotistical person. They are not able to accept
compassion or show empathy.
How do folks develop these massive egos? Are some humans born with
oversized egos? As you delve deeper into your true
identity, as you strip away every false layer of your old self, you will find a
smaller ego that is the right-size for decisions. Before you can do this, you
must look at the reasons for this oversized ego. The preponderance of egocentrics do not have a very positive self-image. They recognize their
insecurities and attempt to camouflage these insecurities by wearing a
mask– one of competence and confidence – in a desperate attempt to
conceal their real state of mind. Low self-esteem can be problematic; it is a
leading cause of anxiety, depression, and a number of other psychological
disorders. Egocentrics are fearful of failing and do not recognize that failure
has some of life’s best lessons.
Having high expectations of
oneself is a healthy and productive frame of mind. However, spending most
of your waking hours thinking about your achievements far exceeding anything
conceivably realistic is not healthy or beneficial. Egocentrics often have these illusions of
If an egocentric perceives
their life’s progress as inadequate – a common characteristic of such people –
they’ll embellish anything and everything in order to make up for this “gap.”
Should someone call them out, they’ll frequently overreact in a desperate
attempt to get people to buy whatever they’re selling.
Egocentrics have a compulsive
need to “match” someone else’s perceived qualities. These folks are often
highly accomplished individuals; yet, their unquenchable desire to supersede
anyone else remains evident. This extreme need for validation is apparent in
their conversations with others. When the topic of conversation does not
involve them, an egocentric cannot help but intercede in a desperate attempt to
redirect the spotlight. She becomes a
10-year-old girl, although she won’t agree with that assessment. A conversation that doesn’t revolve around them
is not worth having.
An egocentric truly believes
that their way is the best way – and the only way. If an egocentric detects a
loss of control – often perceived as an act of disrespect – they’re quick to
become angry and defensive. Such attitudes and behaviors are most apparent in a
group setting. I can remember in 2003 sitting
in a meeting of about twenty colleagues, sitting on the edge of my chair,
pounding the table for emphasis regarding a marketing plan some wanted to
implement. I believed we should provide
more money for direct sales in our branches and was opposed to “soft”
marketing. It was a good thing that my
sales group was number one in the company, because otherwise I would have been
asked to leave.
So, I have a huge ego and don’t
like it. What to do? If you can,
sit comfortably and quietly in a darkened room and just ask yourself “Who am
I?” Allow your thoughts and feelings to come to the surface, and don’t judge
them. Just observe what comes up. Do not berate yourself but try to find the
YOU that you want to be. Then you can
focus on who you are and where you want to take yourself.
The Ego will gain some power as you contemplate your True
Self and attach those thoughts to your identity. Take a step to get away from
this tendency. Volunteer or just lend a helping hand to others, forget about
your Self for a while, and instead shift your attention outward to your fellow
humans in need. Release your obsession with “I” and instead focus on “We.”
Offering your hands and heart to others will help contain your ego.
My worst habit was talking more than I listened. I still
struggle with listening. The ego always wants to be heard and can’t stand when
others have the floor. The false self wants all the limelight and praise and
finds it difficult to let others have attention for any length of time. One way
to overcome this is to develop a new habit: listening more than you talk. Allow
others to fully finish what they have to say before you respond or bring up a
new topic; this way, you will learn to have a balanced relationship with others
rather than one solely built on an out-of-control ego. This will also help you
relax and go with the flow rather than always having to control a situation and
overtake the conversation.
“Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Folks
with large egos always want to have the last word, and they can’t deal with
being wrong. They won’t let go until others see it their way. It is hard to
remember that others will always have different opinions than you. The
realization that their opinions don’t invalidate your own is a big step; others
just see things from a different point of view, and they’re entitled to that.
Once you can allow others to express themselves and be themselves without
feeling offended, you have made a marked step on the path to diminishing the
ego. Choose to be happy.
I have been told on
several occasions that if you have a need to talk about humility, you don’t
have it. Humility is often regarded as
weakness. It is often confused with
humiliation. It is hard to come to grips
with a humble attitude. When we
fail at something that is important to us—a job or a relationship, for
example—our self-esteem plummets because we tied our self-worth to those
things. All of a sudden, we become bad or unworthy people.
A humble person is able to withstand failure or criticism. These folks
sense their intrinsic value of being human rather than letting the world make
that judgement for them. When they fail at a task or don’t live up to
expectations, they try to learn from the situation, but never consider that
there is something wrong with them.
A healthy emotional bond formed with others, usually our childhood
caregivers, provides unconditional acceptance and love which can serve as a
buffer against the effects of criticism or failure. A lot of us did not
experience secure attachment when we were children. But we can compensate
through healthy adult relationships, such as friends, romantic partners, or
even with a higher power, which has been important for me.
Humble people have an accurate picture of themselves—both their defects
of character and their gifts—which helps them to see what must be done to
change. There is no judgement here, just
acceptance. This acceptance allows me to see where these defects are limiting my
growth. Use a feather rather than a bat to beat up on yourself. Kindness and compassion make your change
easier. Transformation comes from positive action.
Gratitude can make us less self-focused and more focused on those around
us—a hallmark of humble people. Expressing gratitude can induce humility in us,
and humble people have a greater capacity for conveying gratitude. I am a
believer in making gratitude lists. Gratitude reinforces humility. BE GRATEFUL
FOR WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU CAN BE.
How often do you feel that a friend, colleague,
or a spouse reveals their true self to you?
The real person? Maybe you get
glimpses at times when you think someone’s actions represent who they actually
are. I wager that you have lots of beliefs about yourself and other
people. You use these beliefs to indicate why people act in a certain way. If
someone yells at you, you may forgive them because you know their life
isn’t going so well. Or, you mistrust them because you feel they are angry
about something you have done. Or, you might even think that their true
self reflects their anger about everything, and you should have no contact with
them. Accordingly, there are times when you believe that a person’s actions
reflect the situation they are in or their current mental state.
I have trouble discerning the true self of
others. This is an area that is part of
the “I don’t know” category for me most of the time. There are plenty of times when I first meet
someone that I decide we don’t connect, we are not on the same page, and I don’t
spot anything about them that I like.
There are times when I decide to dislike someone before I meet them. Then after a time, I grow to like them. I
need the willingness to give them and me a period of adjustment, a pause if you
possess a host of qualities that are similar, but it is their unique
combination that creates the individual and their singular true self. Mystics are not the only ones that can be in
touch with their true self. Most believe that the true self is moral and good.
It is the notion that everyone is born with instincts that differentiate the
good from the evil. So, when people make
changes in their behavior, we are more inclined to believe it reflects their
true self when they change from doing something bad to something good than vice
versa. When someone has been self-serving for a long period, but realizes
that serving others is the better course, we believe they have gotten in touch
with their true self.
We all have gifts that guide the true self: a
zest for life; a rational way of thinking; a certain amount of creativity;
freedom from the bonds of self; gut feelings that are based on proper
discernment of right and wrong; a spiritual path; and the ability to love and
be loved. Our nature is determined by our usage of these gifts. Your choice and
my choice can be to allow these gifts to grow and prosper; to engage in actions
that feed, protect and care for them. Or, we can allow them to lie fallow. It is amazing that these qualities often
remain dormant and we function below our potential as a human being. But our
gifts remain, simply waiting for an awakening.
Do I want a life filled with meaningful
opportunities or do I want to be left with an unfulfilled yearning for
something better? The choice seems
obvious, so why do so many choose the latter path?
I once was a partner in a firm that was
incredibly profitable and prosperous. We
didn’t know why that was the case. Some
believed we had the uncanny ability to find good people in all the towns and
cities where we had offices. Some
thought it was the vibrant southeastern marketplace which was our home. Others
of our more egocentric brethren wondered if our abilities might be greater that
we assumed. Many believed in luck—we
were just uncommonly lucky. Once or twice,
it was suggested that we do a thorough review of our business to find the
elements of our success. Our executive
committee, of which I was part, voted 5-0 in the negative. We were afraid of
what me might find or we would change our luck if that turned out to be the
Why do folks allow
their gifts to remain hidden and unused? FEAR most of the time. We are afraid
of what we might find. Fear is a dominant emotion for a good may folks. Other
common emotions include surprise, happiness, joy, sadness and anger. Do you
feel open and willing to express all of your emotions with zeal during your
daily activities? Or do you fear what others might think of you? What if I told
you that other’s thoughts about you are none of your business?
I wanted to know how
my emotions were dominating my life and how the chaos (my executive committee–squirrels)
going on in my head was ruining my life.
I read about Thomas Merton and his struggles to find his true self. I
wondered if a true self existed for me. I talked to priests and ministers, psychologists,
smart women, smart men, and I read Emmett Fox, Carl Jung, William James, and
the COURSE in Miracles. Finally, I
looked at me. I could not go forward without knowing who I was and what I was. I had to look at people who angered or
damaged me, at businesses and relationships that had deprived me of my just
rewards, and at what scared me.
As you probably
surmise, this accounting did not go in my favor. I had harmed far more people
than had harmed me, mostly those for whom I expressed love and affection. The
failure of my business and the anticipated membership on the New York Exchange (life-long
dream) was of my own making. And fears centered on my inability to acknowledge
mistakes and learn from failure. My outsized ego and my sense of self
importance created anger that would not go away. It blocked joy and happiness and my
relationship with God.
my way of thinking began to change. My understanding of life and
progress through it were inhibited by my usage of certain emotions and my blockage
of others. I could easily access fear,
anger, and sadness in the extreme. But happiness and joy were absent. And I
hated to be surprised. I had to make different choices and I needed help to do
realized that I wasn’t connected to the Source. I wanted the power to transform
my life and found that empowerment by connecting to God via a spiritual path.
Centering prayer, solitude and silence were critical. I made a pilgrimage to
the Abbey of Gethsemane, was silent for five days, went to services three times
a day, and walked in Merton’s shoes. I
reshaped myself and my life. I began to take risks and embrace new
possibilities. I was generating
happiness and joy from within rather than accepting external formulations of
it. I freed my self from my self and made my relationship with God central to
occur in life over which we have no control. Many will attribute these
things to fate, randomness, nature, physical reality, or coincidence. There are
no coincidences. It is the Spirit that provides the answers for us in all
things. We find the Spirit when we discover and actively engage our True
is the highest human function and where we put our True Self to its greatest
use. St Francis tells us that it is better to love
than be loved That would deny
the intrinsic social nature that humans have to be loved and love another. By
trusting another to know one’s own self through their eyes, we free our self to
union–to love and be loved. Loving connections convey the ultimate
expression of our True self.
More often than I’d like to admit,
something seemingly inconsequential will lead to a feeling of deep frustration,
even shame. This is often accompanied by occasional voices like “How stupid!”
and “You should have known better”. I
was recently planting a tomato and I broke the main stem of this beautiful
plant. I used the very words, “HOW
STUPID, YOU CAN’T EVEN PLANT A TOMATO!”
UH, I had already planted two. That’s the thing about perfectionism. It
takes no prisoners. I’ve struggled with
perfectionism and I’m far from alone. The tendency starts young – and it’s
becoming more common.
The rise in perfectionism doesn’t mean
each generation is becoming more accomplished. It means we’re getting sicker,
sadder and even undermining our own potential. And we don’t know the joy of imperfection.
Perfectionism, after all, is an ultimately
self-defeating way to move through the world. It is built on an excruciating
irony: making, and admitting mistakes is a necessary part of growing and
learning and being human. It also makes you better at your career,
relationships, and life in general. By avoiding mistakes at any cost, a
perfectionist can make it harder to reach their own lofty goals.
Culturally, we often see perfectionism as
a positive. Even saying you have perfectionistic tendencies can come off as a
coy compliment to yourself.
Can a person have high standards,
motivation and discipline without being a perfectionist? The answer is yes, unless your best never
seems good enough and not meeting goals frustrates you. Doing your level best
and knowing it, is good enough. Why should you beat yourself up
for mistakes or
feel like you can’t
Striving for excellence, isn’t
actually being a perfectionist. I can
have high standards, integrity, and clear goals without being a perfectionist. Perfectionism
enters when that little voice surfaces,
“you are not good enough.” That inner
voice criticizes different things for different people – work, relationships,
tidiness, fitness. Perfectionists can make smooth sailing into a storm, a brief
ill wind into a category-five hurricane. And, because the ironies never end,
the behaviors perfectionists adapt make them more likely to fail.
The trouble is that, for perfectionists,
performance is intertwined with their sense of self. When they don’t succeed,
they don’t just feel disappointment about how they did. They feel shame about
who they are. Ironically, perfectionism then becomes a defense tactic to keep
shame at bay: if you’re perfect, you never fail, and if you never fail, there’s
Where is this increase in perfectionism coming
from? When you keep in mind the idea that perfectionism stems from marrying
your identity with your achievements, the question might become: where isn’t it
coming from? After all, when you meet someone, the first question you ask is
what they do for a living. Often our accomplishments or our job correlate to
our ability to pay rent or put food on the table. Where we then signal our access to those
resources with our appearance – these shoes, that physique – and other people
weigh that, in turn, to see if we’re the right person for a job interview or
dinner invitation, we just might set ourselves up for disappointment. Often this happens without any real knowledge
of the true self emerging. And as a perfectionist, the main focus is on
achievement and appearance.
perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are
most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. Perfection
is an abstraction, an impossibility in reality, and often it leads to procrastination.
There is a difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection.
Aretha Franklin is my favorite female singer, but does that mean I can’t enjoy
celebrate your imperfection. Look at
yourself with a view of learning who and what you are. Then honestly accept what you find. You no
longer need to be smartest or the dumbest or any other “est.” Its okay to be you. The perfect human being
is so because of their imperfections.
There is comfort when we
deal in absolutes and certainties. We seekers often think we must be certain
about things. But our reality suggests that we are not certain at all and this
becomes the beginning of the loss of faith! It has happened to me. To
assist us the Church feels its job is to make absolute truth claims and feels
very fragile when it cannot. So, faith and our religious organizations are crumbling
beneath this impossible and false goal, it seems to me. What if the church is
imperfect—there is nothing wrong with “not knowing” as Richard Rohr says—there
is beauty and faith in imperfection.
I understand the need
for clarity, some basic order, and identity but absolutes don’t work in God’s
creation as I see it. The Church then needs to abandon this need to be perfect—but
from the inside by using internal resources (leaders and parishioners) to
self-correct. A beginner’s mind filled with humble, patient, wordless
unknowing, combined with sincere curiosity, is how I have learned to restart my
life. Only then was I truly teachable. Otherwise, we only hear whatever
confirms our present understanding. I
have had to become teachable in my own life to begin my quest to be the much
better version of myself. A human being that I can love. From the bottom of a deep hole, I had to stop
digging, become a beginner in life, and learn how to live at the age of 62. The Church is not too old to adopt a
beginner’s mind. In fact, many spiritual thinkers are giving new meaning to the
Christ and I am hopeful that unlocking the door will allow this message to
Without much humility, religion has cried “wolf”
too many times in history and later been proven wrong. These mistakes could have been avoided if the
requirement for perfection had been abandoned. Twisting one line of Scripture
to prove a point was an unjust usage of the word. The biblical text was not
allowed to change us as much as many Christians would have preferred but was
used to exclude and judge other people. A new way of thinking is required. I
want to be part of the whole.
I choose to believe what Richard Rohr says: “God’s presence
was poured into a single human being, so that humanity and divinity could be
seen, then and now, to be operating as one in him—and therefore in us! But
instead of saying that God came into the world through
Jesus, maybe it would be better to say that Jesus came out of an
already Christ-soaked world. The second Incarnation flowed out of the first,
out of God’s loving union with physical creation.” He loves me and He loves you and He loves all
When I realized that God loved me and I was like everyone
else in the Spirit, I was united with everyone and everything, even a blade of
grass and it was okay not to know, I began to see myself and the world
differently. I was loved and I could love even with all the imperfections that
abound. I see that it truly is as St. Francis said about loving: “It is better
to love than to be loved.”
I want to be loved but loving someone else and that blade of
grass is much better. And all love is unconditional. At one point in my life I
detested the phrase “I don’t know.” But not
knowing is preferable and my burgeoning faith keeps me in love with God and
Christine and the blade of grass.
Nutty Buddy is an ice cream cone topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, and peanuts.
The “Nutty Buddy” was
originally created and produced by the Seymour Ice Cream Company, located
in the Port Norfolk section of Dorchester, Massachusetts and named after its
owner, Buddy Seymourian. Seymour Ice Cream ceased operations in the 1980s.
The official Nutty Buddy is no longer
produced commercially in large numbers across the United States. Its former
manufacturer was the Sweetheart Cup Company, which was also the
manufacturer of the machines that produced the cones; Sweetheart went out of business
in 1998. One of the last manufacturers of the Nutty Buddy is Purity
Dairies in Nashville, Tennessee.
Purity Dairies is a dairy company and ice cream manufacturer that provides products throughout Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and Virginia. The company is owned by and operates as a subsidiary of Dean Foods and their products include milk, cultures, ice cream, orange juice, lemonade, tea and water, and it is one of the last distributors of the Nutty Buddy ice cream cone.
Please do not confuse the Nutty Buddy ice cream with nut butter. Nutty Buddy Nut Butters are artisanal nut butter that is always gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and free of refined sugars! Organic coconut sugar, which is unrefined and has a lower glycemic index than traditional refined sweeteners, is used to sweeten the butter. Nuts are dry roasted to emphasize their naturally sweet aroma and maintain the mineral-rich nutrients your body needs. No palm oil or artificial additives are used at all- it’s just naturally delicious!
way to enjoy nut butter is spreading it on toast with banana & cinnamon or
just eating it straight out of the jar! There are endless options when it comes
to nut butter: make a nut butter & jam sandwich, savory pasta, sweet
cookies, and more. Anyone can make a nut butter if you can grind the nuts. I
love Almond Butter and you can grind your own at the Roanoke Co-op or Fresh
Nutty Buddy is also the name of a well-known athletic cup that was
invented and patented by Mark Littell after he learned that nearly 50% of his
athletes refused to wear athletic cups because they said that the only
available cups were uncomfortable and restrictive. He created a premier
athletic cup with a patented design that is anatomically shaped to conform to
the male body providing unprecedented levels of comfort and protection. After
all, the most important thing is to “protect the boys”. The patented
Nutty Buddy has won multiple awards for its comfort, design, and protection and
has become a staple for athletes all over the world. Nutty Buddy’s safety gear
protects the boys while playing baseball, softball, ice hockey, field hockey,
lacrosse, football, martial arts, paintball or other contact sports. Nutty
Buddy is now expanding their market into the law enforcement and military
fields by creating the world’s first ballistic cup!
The patented Nutty Buddy Ballistic Cup is essential protective equipment that is required when entering a hostile environment. It is designed to protect the groin against bullets, fragments, and other impacts. The Nutty Buddy Ballistic cup follows the same anatomical design as the original Nutty Buddy. This design allows the cup to shape to the body to deliver comfort, and in addition, there is a “tail” that resides between the legs to center the cup during activity and provide protection under the groin area.
I bring this to your attention for several reasons. I find it fascinating that there is such a vast array of items that use the name, Nutty Buddy. But there should be no confusion about the product that our community is fearful is going to be rationed.
Several ladies were talking in our Grille (at my senior residential community) about the lack of Nutty Buddys in the display freezer.
Alice was sitting in her motorized chair talking to Eloise. “I have seven of them in my basket. I’m going to put them in my freezer.”
Eloise replies, “We won’t have to use them until next week. I have five in my freezer. That’s one for you, one for Maggie, one for Janet and a fifth one if Joycelyn shows up.”
“Great! We can use mine next week on Friday.”
“Don’t give up. I was told that another box was found in the central
freezer. Since I have the last seven in
the cooler, they’ll probably bring out more. We’ll need to check tomorrow and
the next day.”
“Let’s just get five at a time. We don’t want to create suspicion.”
Alice gets this devious smile on her face and says, “maybe we can corner
the market and have a Nutty Buddy auction.”
They smiled and departed.
This truly happened!!
Or maybe I just imagined it!! Nope! You can’t make this stuff up.
I am part of a microcosm that supports big business. I
utilize Facebook as a convenient communication apparatus to keep up with
friends and family both near and in distant places. Amazon is for stuff ranging
from cat food to books and is a source of entertainment with the Fire Stick and
Alexa. I have an iPhone, although it is a 5s.
I use Netflix for TV watching and Google plus Google Chrome for surfing
the net. I feel I should be using local
businesses and I truly felt good about buying Virginia Diner peanuts at
Northwest Hardware. BUT when the guy behind me got upset because the cashier
was taking too long, I insisted he go ahead of me. He was a bit embarrassed but moved ahead of
me anyway. It was aggravating. This doesn’t happen at Amazon.
Which takes me to Christmas and the Hallmark Channel. The town of Hollyvale, North Dakota is very
typical of a Hallmark location and the Christmas Spirit in the digital age is a
moving topic. What strikes me about this program and others is how
business-centric they seem to be. Though there are other types of plots,
a common theme is that there is some business, or a town filled with businesses
that revolves around Christmas and is enjoyable for the townsfolk but
relatively unprofitable. The characters have to find a way to make the
business viable, in this case by helping Kate Harper, a national news reporter,
find her Christmas spirit and draw people to the town. You can’t turn this plotline
over to a soulless corporate operator who will lay everyone off and destroy the
essential character of the town. Typically, this involves teaching
someone the true meaning of Christmas and the special value added to a company
by longtime employees who put their hearts into their work.
A FAANG company would maximize profits by automating the
bakery and relocating production to a central facility in Illinois. The ski
lodge would be renovated, and new management would be brought in. Of course, the toy store would close.
But the characters in this movie find a way to generate some minimum profit that’s enough to keep things running while providing steady jobs for devoted employees and special memories for customers. Plus, they find the Christmas Spirit for Kate Harper by reuniting her with Jack Brewster, her special friend, and her estranged father. And that’s the happy ending. I cried a little.
The goal is to create a sustainable business that meets
the needs of the various constituents without making anyone wealthy, just happy.
Too me, this is a noble goal.
I asked myself a question—what does this storyline mean? One possibility is that the Hallmark movies are a “true” reflection of our culture and of natural human values. We know that capitalism drives resources to their best use and this does not benefit everyone. Is Shareholder driven capitalism bad for people, even unnatural.? The role of business schools, as well as CPA, CFA and CFP training programs, are to indoctrinate young people in this unnatural value system just as the role of military boot camp is to get young people to overcome their natural instincts and run toward the fighting.
I suppose another possibility is that there are many folks who think about shareholder-value capitalism as synonymous with democracy and do not worry about the discriminatory aspect. I have come to believe that the role of Hallmark movies is to indoctrinate people in the unnatural part of the capitalist system. I like the idea of a small town filled with people who have a common purpose such as finding the Christmas Spirit or peace on earth or love for each other.