Archive for February, 2009

Remembering In The Capitalistic Crunch

February 26, 2009

by Florence Ondré

When I’m down in the dumps
Thoughts jumbled in clumps
I am stopped in my tracks on the floor 

When breaths come in gasps
While society rasps
Buy some fear and then purchase still more

These are times which confuse
And do rarely amuse
Still, there’s something that’s left to be learned

I do not have to lose
There are roads yet to choose 
With good outcomes I’ve already earned

For my worth is within
As the world makes each spin
A given of good by design

Not some goal I achieve
Or a want or a need
It’s just be-ing my spark of Divine.


Quote For The Day

February 26, 2009

“He who would do great things should not attempt them all alone.”


Day In Haiku

February 26, 2009


Haiku sharing joy

View in sparsity of words

Crystalized exchange


this haiku was written for those who haiku and exchange thoughts & experiences in this word form expression.

thanks for sharing the joy.

Florence Ondré

Day In Haiku

February 26, 2009


“Oh, The Irony Of Spring”


New York  Spring has sprung

Ahhh, sun.  Fly blue skies and find

Snow in Seattle!

Quote For The Day

February 25, 2009

“Everything the power does, it does in a circle.” Lakota


February 23, 2009

excerpted from the novel,  “A Confluence Of Circumstances In Our Time”

by Florence Ondré

Lately, while sitting in the pits of economic disaster contemplating the frailty of faith, I’ve found myself feeling grateful for things that might have usually been, at the very least, an irritant, such as:

An ascerbic comment heard; a thoughtless remark uttered my way; an ignoring of clearly expressed boundaries; a bright, chipper chattiness overriding the sharing of sorrow or challenge; a dismissal of valid feelings or experiences; an insensitive sounding snippet of word or deed which diminishes self that leaves me feeling shocked, hurt, shaken in my faith in people.  

Of course, when this happens, what comes immediately to mind is how I’d prefer folks to act and speak.

I’d especially like my family and family of choice to treat me with unconditional love, kindness, sensitivity, compassion and non judgment, as I do them.

Does that always occur? 


Am I always shocked when it does not.


Every time.

It takes my breath away;  leaving me reeling from the blow of the two by four between the eyes.

Ready rejoinders appropriate to each experience seem to fly out the doors in my brain; opened like wounds in my rolodex of retorts.

Speechlessness descends upon me like a heavy veil crushing my spirit with a shroud of sadness.

‘Wha, why, huh?’ turns into “WTF and “Arrrggghhh!” 

And I feel like Charlie Brown when the football is whipped out from under him as he trusts Lucy to hold the ball for him to kick…AGAIN!

With all my spiritual training, beliefs and practices, at low times like these, I’m left, shaking my fist at God, Higher Power, Spirit, All That Is, Angels-whoever is supposed to be ‘up there’- yelling, “What’s the purpose of this fanload?”

I know there’s always a lesson, a reason to everything and I don’t have to like it.  

Everything is in Divine Order and All Is Well but do the lessons have to hurt so much, be so hard, draw blood?

I’m left feeling like I did something wrong and am paying the price or I was so bad in another life that I now have to crawl through Karmic dirt in order to balance out.

I know that I have no control over anyone or anything outside of my own skin…and even that’s not a given.

Human body parts wear down and give out at the most illogical an inconvenient times with not much notice given and, when my skin is thinning in the face of some challenge or I have no skin on at all because the challenge has lingered long, a whisper of insensitivity lashes livid.

Still, there remains this nugget of hope; the Chas. Brown football kick of blind faith that sometimes leaves me flat on my back, panting for breath knocked out of me, underneath the pile of feeling anything other than gratitude.

Recently, while facing the challenges of physical handicap, losing my home and sheer terror thoughts of how to survive…or not; while being wrapped in a cocoon of self imposed silence born of blame and shame at not being more than I could have been, I broke my isolation and attempted to share bits of my shredded soul with those I’ve called friends. 

Their reactions and responses alternately lifted and toppled me.  

Some pushed me into puddles of tears, others angered, socked with shock or led to laughter.  

In all cases, after the weeping wound down, ire ebbed, guffaws ground to a halt and shock seeped away, I thought of each of these people I’d known for many years; times we’d endured and times we celebrated; what we’d learned about each other; how we’d grown and who we’d each become with our own individual personality quirks and qualities.

Several were women closest to me with whom there’d been some recent distancing.  Thus, reaching out in such vulnerability presented an extra emotional hurdle for me to cross to melt my own isolation barrier in order to reconnect.

Searching with clear eyes both my own motivation and the possibilities that things had changed irrevocably in our connection, I made the decision that, no matter what pieces I didn’t like; no matter what unfinished business with each other, I did not want to change any of them. 

I simply missed the intimacy and our comfort of close, loving support.

Ultimately, I kept reminding myself that I needed to keep my focus on me; listen and learn who I could or could not be near, instead of running at the always-fail punt; going to the hardware store for bread and milk.

And in this process of facing my fear of loss, aloneness in the world and unloveability, what I surprisingly found, after a variety of reactions of gravel, grace and grit, was odd gratitude.

Upon finally getting up enough courage to face friends; pick up the phone and say- out loud and outside my self imposed circle of silence-that we were facing losing our income and home , one reacted to my agonized admission of failure with a curt, dismissive, 

“Oh, you’ve been there before, you’ll be fine!” 

then launched into an all-about-her two minute gush before racing off with an “I’m at the store gotta go!”  

I was left holding the disconnected phone in my hand; flattened like a hit and run victim.  

Her next call was a chipper, 

“Hey, am I ever gonna see you again?  Let’s go to dinner,” 

followed by a few yards of how happy she was that her job as a tenured teacher was secure.

Her next call was to share with me how she was getting offered a very lucrative retirement buy out that would put more money in her bank account then than now.

I congratulated her and got off the phone, happy for her and wishing I could be that safe, as I scanned my mind for marketable skills; picturing myself, sans degrees, as a bag lady at the local supermarket; losing my social security disability because it would put me over income limit.  

I wondered, with my spine injury, how I’d ever be able to stand up that long for the bagging each day and realized in dark humor that, with what recovery I’d been able to wrest from 10 years, spent mostly in bed or a wheelchair, on pain meds, with hundreds of thousands of mortgaged dollars for out of pocket for uncovered therapies, I could probably now limp to the poor house.

After absorbing initial shock, I took time to notice what I was feeling. I replayed the initial reaction from my friend, which felt like I’d been told I’d just shared a molehill instead of the Himalayas we currently faced, and realized that, in being her usual curt self, she showed me that she didn’t take my plight as seriously as I and had faith that I would get through to a good outcome; reminding me I’d done so before.


Maybe she saw something I didn’t.  

What a weird gift wrapping but I was grateful there was someone out there who wasn’t worrying because it didn’t occur to her that we were anything other than capable and whole.


Another long time friend, who I’d been avoiding confronting about how sad I felt that our connection had lapsed overlong in phone calls not returned, promises unkept and feelings of not being of any consequence anymore in her life, responded with, 

“Oh, yeah, we’ve been in that boat for a while now.  We’re struggling too.  We’ve been trying to work out some reorganization of loans and bills.  No idea how it’s gonna turn out but we’re trying to live each day like you taught me—a minute at a time.  American Express has asked us to ‘Please, leave home without it!’” 

A rusted guffaw burbled up out of my throat before I could think.  We both cracked up. 

It felt like old times when we were a Long Island Lucy and Ethel capering in hilarious episodes of our own suburban lives; laughing at the absurdities in life, catching a prayer together or a piece of cheesecake, listening, making time for each other and finding the funny in the funereal. 

In this honesty of sharing her own unvarnished story, she halved my own shame and blame. 

A waterfall of weeping relief cascaded over me; wiping chunks of emotional debris from my concreted shoulders.  

I cried out that which had been kept locked inside me; braved being vulnerable, humiliated or thought of as weak; sobbed through the feelings of having missed our closeness, wishing I’d have communicated when the first call went unreturned, creating a year long pattern of disconnection.   

As we talked further, with no resolution in sight yet for either of us, we breathed again as friends.  

Bearing up became bearable.

In this day, this phone call, this sharing, she gave me back connection and the precious gift of humor.


Another close campadré, who we’d heard recently snap out her opinion that people who were losing their homes in the banking mess ‘deserved what they got,’ went into her own shock and dread when, after weeks of simply asking for prayer without specifics, I finally told what we were facing.  

I had to gear up for that talk because, though I know this friend loves us dearly, I feared the grilling for details I didn’t want to get into, the skidding to the top of the whispered, ‘OMG.  Did you hear what happened to…’ gossip chart and being labeled ‘schmucks.’  

I get that it’s human nature to awfulize (some of us were raised to think that was supportive response to an miserable experience)  yet, other than silence, I needed, at this time, to keep as much positive energy around us as possible to hold the door open for miracles.  

I believe that what we focus on grows and I surely didn’t want more negative focus.

The feelings we had the night of her quick (and unremembered) proclamation were, ‘Holy mackerel!  She doesn’t know she’s talking to friends who are possibly near that very edge of survival,’  and reminded us to keep our own knee jerk reactions and judgment to ourselves lest we jab others with that same poker of hurt.  We didn’t want to lump everyone in our country who’d been trying to survive 8 years of political and corporate greed and rapaciousness in the same cauldron with crooks, cronies and collective stupidity.

Predictably, when I could talk a tiny bit and returned her calls, my friend’s voice dropped to the hushed ‘OMG’ whisper of horror as she did the twenty painful ‘how, why, what’ questions over and over with suggestions for solutions.  

I retreated back into the shell I’d barely crawled out of.

I tried answering in short courteous form; conveying that we were still in the throes of shock and agony and even threw out a funny line of ironic worst case scenario–living in the basement of the son and daughter in law who are least close to us. 

Not a nibble. No humor to lift me here.  

After my patience and energy ran thin enough to snap, I begged off the phone with my teeth clenched, afraid of hurting her feelings; frazzled with more fear than I’d had before I’d phoned.

As the days went by, I’d get a loving e-mail reminding she was holding us in light or a phone call checking in to let me know she was praying for us and, of course,  a new piece of advice was offered every time of how to proceed or feel better in the middle of the crisis.

One day, it went like this:

“Hubby and I talked it over last night and we thought maybe, last resort,  you could go live in your son’s basement and your mate could go to the West coast and live with his relatives.”

Aghast, I thought,  ‘Are you freekin kidding me?  Separate instead of pull together?  What the hell could you be thinking?’ while simply thanking her for thinking of us and for her continued prayers.  

I got the hell off the phone before I chewed her face off through Bell’s instrument of torture.


“It’s a beautiful sunshiny day today.  Get out.  It’ll do you a world of good.”

This call arrived while I was armpit deep in cleaning and throwing out years of stuff in order to try to put my home on the market for, hopefully, a quick sale.  I was way on another side of ‘get out’ and it had nothing to do with El Sol!


“Put on your favorite outfit.  You’ll feel better.” 

Upon which I leaned against a wall, sagging under the weight of how out of touch she was with who I am and have been for years.  

How had she forgotten that for the last 3 years, we’d been having to throw every stitch of clothing out after wearing because we are still living with the aftermath of glue contamination on our skin and can’t wash clothes without contaminating our laundry machines, the pipes underneath our house or the community?  

Why didn’t she remember that I’d been shopping at the cheapest clothing stores I could find, had gotten far beyond a place where I gave a fig about fashion and, if I had a favorite outfit, it was long gone after the first wearing; disposable-nothing kept?

All of her monologues were  delivered in hushed, intense tones; mixed in with a variety of ways of asking the core question, ‘Is it better yet?” 

My ability to see absurdity in the world, left me thinking, ‘Oy! The draahhma of it all.  If I wrote this in a play, the audience would be in hysterics…hell, I’m in hysterics of about ten different kinds and growing!’

And then came the call where she talked about feelings and was clear-as-a-bell-on-target about the emotions this disaster had exploded and was full-on-supportive-validating of my guts and lungs which lay splattered on the floor about me from the tornado of shame, blame, sorrow and anger with which this plate of misery served.  

As she got into understanding the feelings involved in what I was going through, instead of awfulizing and trying to solve, she shared her own stuff; things regarding her own financial and home situation; what made her frightened, angry; how close they were to their own brink.

Sitting straight up in my chair, I blinked awake and aware once again of commonality in the face of what seems like terminal uniqueness.  How close we are; all threads in the human tapestry.

The rug being pulled out from under us had touched her core of stability and had scared her to her soul.  Her own whirlwind of what she’d do in the situation had reared its Hydra head and I got to be the befuddled being on the receiving end of her reactions.

My veil of shame lifted

I realized it wasn’t solely about me.

My situation had ignited her fear.

Her reaction came from her own life concerns and her ‘grilling’ and trying to come up with a batch of quick fix solutions showed more about how she might attack the problem than how I should.


I could feel compassion instead of constriction.  The cells of my body eased from heart attack stance to take a breath stand by.

The gift of friendship was not just mine or hers.  

In feeling pushed apart, we were drawn close and I felt less alone and abandoned emotionally.

We were ok.


Yet another companion continued connection but  kept talking about the shoes and clothing sales she was finding.  Hard to take in light of me taking food back to the store and cashing in all department store gift cards for the money to pay the mortgage.

Some friends moved away into silence and apartness.  No invitations came our way to get together, no Super Bowl Sunday, no weekend phone calls to touch base, no e-mails.  

As time dragged on into more than a week without us moving out of ‘need prayers and miracles’ mode, less and less contact or mention of energy of support came our way.  

It felt like we were just the speed bump in everyone’s ‘get on with it already.’  

Few wanted to hear about it anymore.  They’d moved on past the initial shock while we were still mired in terror with no way out visible yet.

It felt like the weeks after 9/11 when the nation mobilized their hearts and pulled together.  People were nicer, gentler, more compassionate to one another.  Traffic on the expressways slowed down to allow people to merge without getting the finger or squeezed out.  

“You go first, no you go first,” was a rarely heard phrase resurrected into everyday language out of the ashes of disaster.  

While in New York City at Ground Zero the energy remained softer longer, in outer reaches, got back to the same ol same ol.  ‘Yeah, it happened, get over it.  Get a horse, buddy!  Now about me…’

The novelty of unconditional, loving support wore off.

Sustaining that level of committment to others ebbed.

There’s so much more to focus on.  

Who can sit that long and pray for people?  

Who can hold the light indefinitely?

Whaddya want from my life anyway?

Feeling all this dismissive, seeming heartlessness, I get that it’s almost too much to bear for people to be too close to the fire for too long, lest it be contagious or too overwhelming to dwell upon while feeling impotent. 

I think how important it is that there actually are people who can and do hold the light for the world and individuals in need every day… and as I cogitate thankfully on this, I find I’m surprised to remember that I’m still one of those… no matter what is going on in my own life.

Nice reminder when I feel bereft of skills or value.


Another gift, even from those who absent themselves or fade off into the ‘acquaintance’ room-which is down the hall from the door marked, ‘friendship’ – is practicing ‘detachment with love’ when empty wells present themselves.  

It helps me keep my focus on myself and remember that maintaining my emotional health is an inside job.

One gal I’ve known for years,  calls it ‘dialing back’ from people who hurt you.


Yet another close friend, from whom I’d been experiencing odd, hurtful behavior, surprised me in a good way.

She’d been caustic in comments and plain rude in public to me and our time spent together sharing any kind of recreation had dribbled to zero over a long course of time.  

I’d made excuses for her in my head because she was suffering with grave illness and losses in her family.  

With every slight, I kept cutting her slack because I knew from whence she trudged.  She’d been there for me in my own health and familial losses and I was determined to be there for her, give her space, not take offense, chalk up hurtful words to her ‘being overwhelmed.’ 

I wanted to be kind and compassionate.  

The difference was that I couldn’t remember aiming my anger at her like the spikes I was receiving.  I vowed that in the new year I was going to talk turkey to her and find out if I’d missed any hurt or slight on my part, get straight or let go altogether. 

Bottom line, I missed my friend and didn’t know who she was anymore.  I just needed to be treated better or walk away. 

And then the security rug was pulled from under my home feet  and I could not one minute longer endure the least slight without opening a vein. 

No skin on. 

Everything paled into unimportance in light of survival.  

Take your bad behavior and shove it. 

I was in a place where I didn’t care about anyone’s bad behavior as I faced my worst nightmare, being a bag lady on the streets.

We both belonged to a weekly writer’s group.  After a session in which, as leader of the week, I’d brought in a gift to present to each member as a focal point for an in-session writing exercise, I was on the last shred of making excuses for rude behavior.

On a trip recently taken, I’d discovered little black boxes with the word, ‘irony,’ embossed in red on the top along with a tiny red line announcing, ‘a gesture of kindness.’  

“How perfect for my writer friends,” I’d thought as I searched around town to buy enough for each of the dozen women to have their own.  I’d be home for the holidays and wouldn’t these make a nice gift and fun for the group to write an in-session piece on the word, ‘irony’ and the line, ‘a gesture of kindness,’ would serve as a homework assignment.  

Each little box contained sugar free mints.  In mine, I kept little slips of paper with life’s ironies noticed written on them.  I was excited to bring sweet gifts for everyone that might spur their creativity and simply let them all know how dear they were to me. 

Under the heading of ‘no good deed goes unpunished,’ what I’d spent my hard earned money and energy on turned into anything but gratitude for a gesture of kindness.

Two out of the few present that day, pushed their shiny boxes back at me with disdain and my friend shoved hers across the table at me, announcing, after the woman next to her wrote barely more than the list of the ‘horrible’ ingredients, that she would never have this kind of stuff in her house!

I sat back numb, and devalued by the unfeeling rudeness and rebuff.  

So much for a gesture of kindness.  

I skipped the usual ‘lunch with the gals,’ feeling too raw and hurt; mumbled something to the writer next to me about ‘shepherding my energy’ (in other words ‘taking care of me by removing myself from further insult); went home and shared the experience with my mate who, with goggling eyes, said, 

“Oh honey, I’m so sorry you had to go through that thoughtlessness.  Good grief, even if one doesn’t like a gift, decent manners would be to say thank you on acceptance of the generosity of heart and then take it and do what you want later… at the very least, showing courtesy for the thought if not the gift itself. I don’t like you being treated this way.”

Yeah, me too I thought.

So, I picked up the phone and left a voice message for my friend, saying plain and simple how shocked and hurt I’d felt at her actions.   

To her credit, she called me back later that day wanting to talk things over with me but by then I was knee deep in graver matters than the discourtesy shown me that morning.  

It was days before I could talk to another living soul.  We were sliding into homeless homeplate and I could barely breathe for the terror rising in my throat every minute.

Rudeness paled and people who couldn’t remember that I am a sensitive; a friend worth treating with words and deeds rooted in kindness, just didn’t matter at all anymore.

I got zapped into the isolation booth of utter terror.  

No homeland security for me.

When I could speak, I decided to do what I want others to do for me-at least have the decency to return phone calls.  

She and I arranged to meet at a local deli and before I could even start on my laundry list, she took responsibility for her actions; said she never wanted to hurt me and affirmed our friendship and its importance to her.

Armor dropped away from my heart, my shoulders softened and I told her how, under the banner of that very friendship, I’d been allowing the actions of her misplaced anger to continually hurt me.  

“Why didn’t you tell me?”  she asked. 

I teared up as I answered, “I didn’t want to add to your already hard burden. I thought you might just stop sometime soon but instead, unchecked anger kept coming out sideways, skewering me.  I just can’t take it anymore.  

I choked out,  “I’m going through my own hell and I miss my friend.”

She  apologized and admitted that she’d been getting shorter and shorter on her already miniscule fuse.

There was a release of defenses.

Weight lifted with amends made; light peeked in through the cracks  and the foundation of our friendship was reaffirmed with her promising to try to be more aware and sensitive  and with me taking my own responsibility for speaking up immediately when I feel hurt; not letting it slide until our relationship is under the bus wheels.

She rallied to my side when I admitted the situation we were facing, didn’t judge us negatively and only offered that she wished she could solve it for us and take away the pain.  

She refrained from giving advice and has continued on with sisterly love and an occasional suggestion offered only as another thing to consider as we face difficult choices.

And in the middle of chaos of calamity, what had been buried rose to the surface of what’s really important.

We’re back in the flow of knowing the depth and breadth of our friendship and how important it is for both of us to nourish this precious blessing.


And isn’t that what we all want at our heart… a comfort, a safe haven, a place where we can be ourselves, and have the breath of kindness blow the chaff from the beautiful wheat we all are.

The Angels have taught me that we are here on Earth, called to cross each others’ path to bless and be blessed by one another.  

I believe this with all my heart and that belief, though sorely tested sometimes, remains true.

I want my friends to choose their words with care when I’m vulnerable and yet I want them to be themselves and stay authentic and connected.

Finding that bearable medium is hard and most of us don’t know what to say when devastation hits.  

We’re uncomfortable with loss and sorrow and we are, like it or not, part of the culture of fast food and fixes.  We feel undone when we can’t fast fix forward.

In mulling over these recent experiences and wide ranges of reactions- theirs and mine-what I realized, and was grateful for, with all of these women, was reaffirmation of how much we really do love and value one another.  

And that, with communication and willingness to be flexible; making changes that best serve our common growth, we can always come back together to the truth of: 

‘Though we might make mistakes, we are not ones.’

Yeah, are these women the same people they were before these epiphanies?

You betcha.

Will I be rankled by their particular brand of interaction in the future?


I still get the ‘here’s-how-to-get-through-it better’ advice to ‘Wear a bright color today’ or ‘Keep busy so you don’t have to dwell on it,’ or ‘Red shoes always make me happy.  Try donning your Happy Shoes.’

It’s becoming a litany of outrageousness in the face of so many people in our country who are facing what we are and worse. This cavalier, out of touch repartee defies taking any of it personally.  Though much of it smacks of the thoughtlessness of people who say how great the dead person in the coffin looks or who urges the bereaved to get out there instead of feeling their feelings and acknowledging their loss, I know the heart means well.

I’ll ‘dial back’ my feelings of wanting to strangle the chipped chipperness and remember that underlying intention.

Will I be tempted to want them to behave in ways that make me feel easier?

No doubt about it.

Will I go over and over in my head what I want to say to them to insure my comfortability?

Yes, and I won’t speechify any of that projecting.

Will I communicate my personal boundaries as needed or when things change?

Yes, and hopefully, as gaps may open, not weeks or months after the fact.


We are works of art in progress and our friendship, like any vessel with good essential bone structure, is worth upkeep and occasional renovation as we sail seas, soft and stormy, on the ‘HMS Relationship.’

The gift in the grime of great challenge these friends gave me was being exactly who they are.  

They each have their own special light to bestow. 

They bless me in ways I embrace and repel; like and can hardly abide; which cosset and rub raw.  

They make me question, laugh, cry, and scream.  Ultimately they give me the most amazing variety of experiencing gratitude for their being exactly who they are in all their glum, glam and glory.

And there they are, this troupe of treasures, who trip over their own tongues, harpoon and hold me with their rough hewn and hand polished brands of caring; who dig me out of my dungeon of despair with their tempers, touches and telepathy and individually enrich me with their authenticity and unique, unconditional love.

The wrapping paper may be crummy at times but the present within is always priceless.

With all their thorns, soft petals and colors, I’m grateful for these women I call friends and, may Higher Power keep helping me release wanting things as I think they should be, I wouldn’t change any of them for the world.

For each of them; who they are, as they are, I am, down here in the gravel, simply grateful.

Quote For The Day

February 23, 2009

“Our first teacher is our own heart.”

Quote For The Day

February 20, 2009

“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy” — Jacques Maritain

Day In Haiku

February 19, 2009

The forecast said, ‘rain’
Yet bright blue met morning eyes
Confirmed by birdsong

Florence Ondré

Quote For The Day

February 19, 2009

“God gives us each a song.”


The Gratitude Pool

February 19, 2009

In a week filled with myriad challenges, gratitude is the calm in the storm; the safe haven to stop and take a breath and give over all to Source and allow Spirit to bring about outcomes far better than I can imagine. 
Realizing human shoulders are not always as big as I think they are, is like a cool drink of water on the heat of a desert day.
I’m grateful to let go..even when it is hard living in the leap.
In Light and Love,

Quote For The Day

February 18, 2009

“If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come.”


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