It’s 3:17 am and I am in between my first and second sleep, as usual my mind is pinball machine with a little silver ball of thoughts going around and around, popping up and sliding down- going from thought to thought. It’s been rough, these past few weeks with chaos, destruction and death; and the news and media seem filled with hot topics while the heat is adding to our collective discomfort. A gentle breeze is tickling the chimes outside our window and a few acorns have dropped on our roof while beside me my sleeping partner is breathing slowly and peacefully, our little dog’s paws are gently flicking my leg as she is running through some forest in her dreams and our big dog is softly barking at a squirrel in her reverie during this all too familiar scenario of insomnia; an inherited trait passed down my family line from my great grandmother, Minnie. I turn on my tiny book light attached to my current book, for I must have a book at the side of my bed for these inevitable bouts of sleeplessness. Currently I am reading ‘Beyond War’ by Douglas P. Fry  as I have been searching for solace from the negative messages relentlessly permeating our world. Last week’s deluge of Agent Orange blown through the media via a convention has me in search of positive viewpoints. It was ugly and it was loud.


My college roommate and life long friend used to be a fan of Stephen King, VC Andrews and the like, she enjoyed sitting in a theater watching horror movies until she began to have regular nightmares and realized that her choice in literature was the cause. She stopped reading graphic and horror novels and her nightmares subsided, the connection was obvious. With the plethora of reading topics available there is much we can fill our minds with that enhances our sleeping and waking life. The internet and media are very much like a library- we can choose whatever genre we want. We don’t have to select anger, horror, violence and hate, we can chose other themes. However, I understand, it’s difficult to not see what is happening around us. It’s hard to not be afraid to go to an airport or a night club. Life is presenting us with many challenges, jobs aren’t easy to come by, our debts may be high, and stress is prevalent. Certainly if the proverbial alien life form landed in Cleveland last week and entered the great gathering hall they would have quickly gone back to their planet and declared Earth inhospitable and dangerous but I would have grabbed their hand and told them to wait and come to Philadelphia this week. Did you notice the difference? There was some dissention- we are humans after all- but there was also comradery. The messages of the speakers was about actions people have taken to help, not hinder. The sea of people was colorful and varied, a more accurate reflection of the outside world.


We have so many options to fill in the library of our minds.

I’m not very good at conflict, I don’t handle it well, I usually walk or run away from it instead of facing it as it upsets me more than what people see on the outside because I am a bit like Gem in The Empath episode of Star Trek. Gem is a fully functional empath who can transfer other people’s pain to herself, while I don’t have Gem’s capacity to actually feel other people’s pain I can imagine it. It’s a gift and a curse. A curse because I get angry when I see suffering and injustice just as most people do and I can’t tolerate watching as people are cruel to each other. There’s been a lot of that in the news, evidence of just how cruel humans can be. Sometimes I say and do things in that moment of anger just as others do. I usually regret it quickly but I can’t undo it or take it back. If had a scarf and every stitch was a regrettable action or word I have said in my life, it would be a mighty long scarf. Every day I work towards knitting a scarf of happy words and positive actions and I hope that at the end of my life the second scarf will be much longer.


It is really easy to be negative when all we see and hear is about the awful things that are going on, the droughts, floods, wars, brutality and angry speech of our family, friends and colleagues. As we walk through the orchard of life it is much easier to pick up the apples that have already fallen to the ground, the ones that have a bruise or a worm hole or are slightly dirty. We could collect a bushel of those apples because little effort is involved. When we get home we say to our family, “Well, that’s all I could find, these damaged apples.” OR we could walk with a friend and look up and see the new apples, unblemished and beautiful. We could help our friend, lift them up to reach that fresh, sweet apple and when they come down we can share it, that way we both get a delicious apple. OR we could help each other collect many apples from up above us, bring them home and make a pie for all of our family and friends to share. I made one, would you like a piece?


There are awesome people out in the world doing great deeds and it takes just a little effort to locate them but like those fresh apples it takes effort to discover them. For example, Sgt. Stephen Wick and Officer Colin Mansfield who helped a blind and homeless man in Texas.  We don’t have to listen to the negative red and orange rhetoric spewing pollution out of golden towers. We don’t have to believe that the only thing left for us is damaged produce laying rotting on the ground. Bad food smells foul and affects our happiness just as the loud ugliness does. We don’t have to tolerate that. We can turn it off and chose a different way of solving our problems. We can accept the scraps and discarded offal that is being offered or we can shut it off. Rarely do we get everything we want, humans live in packs and tribes so we have to compromise. We can share what we have with many and we all thrive or we can accept the myth that some deserve more than others because they work so much harder than we do and are more deserving, when in reality, they are simply greedy and selfish. History has many examples of what happens when greed rules and many suffer. An opportunity exists right now for us to work together and make changes that positively affect everyone or we can allow the Non-Negotiables to dead lock us and Agent Orange to defoliate what we have. We all deserve a slice of the abundant pie that our world offers us. We all work hard and have earned the right to sit together and enjoy a slice, because who isn’t worthy of a fresh piece of pie?


Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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