Archive for the ‘Conversation Topics’ Category

PURPOSE – Do You Have One?


Whew – its been two years since I’ve posted on this blog.

Lots of Travels and Changes since then.  Including a new dog, inherited from a friend.

Little Moose - well before he was even a thought to come our way.  Happy he did. Sweet Boy.

Little Moose – well before he was even a thought to come our way. Happy he did. Sweet Boy.

Time to restart the engines. Hi Ya’ll.

What got me going is DAVID BROOKS and his New York Times opinion essay on 5-5-15. With his new book THE ROAD TO CHARACTER, he seems to be on a quest to inspire moral conversation. On his website, invites people to post their bucket list, note their hero and share their purpose. He asked readers to answer three questions: 1. Have you Found Your Purpose in Life? 2. If So, How Did You Find It? 3. What Decisively Helped You Get There?

Geez Lousie – that kind of question is right up my alley!

 

My response is posted below.
And I’m curious as to what your answer would be?
Peace – Laura

MY PURPOSE: ‘Live A Heart Centered Life’
By Laura Matson Hahn

When I was in my formative years, 0 to 18, there were five key elements which formulated what became my purpose in life. It was no grand objective to serve the world. It was more like a bet with myself, could I do it? Sixty years hence I can say I did, and still do.

But I hesitate to use the word purpose – for the word has become associated with the great ‘new age’ scurry to tag oneself with a vaulted ideal or cause. All the better if it garners applause, sell books or engenders an “ah-ha” from the divine Miss O. All of which, keeps people focused on external validation for an understanding that is essentially an inside job.

My purpose was the opposite: “To Live A Heart-Centered Life:” To measure my choices from the inside out. To discover my life, my path, with the guidance of my heart. To be true to the spirit I innately felt within. To trust my quiet inner voice.

While there was no one speaking about “heart-centered” living back then, the adage of follow your heart was ubiquitous and universal. But How to do that was the question I pursued, leading to a most interesting career, diverse study, world travel, good friends, spouse and a book on that very subject.

The five key elements of my youth were:

FIRST: A vivid dream at ten, envisioning a book I would write much later, after I’d acquired some life experience. (this has happened).

SECOND: Around the same age, observing my mother’s duties in raising 8 children led to my declaration not to have children. (never did, never regretted)

THIRD: While cooking dinner, my mother played musicals on the stereo to entertain her children. I became enchanted by a line from The Unsinkable Molly Brown: “I mean much more to me than I mean to anybody I ever knew.” It married my soul. I had to know what that felt like. It sounded good. (and it is).

FOURTH: Growing up in the age of Bo Derek, I longed for a mentor to show me how life works, to tell me what to do. I did not get that mentor. But I got several others who showed me myself and how to apply that in my life choices. (much better)

FIFTH: In my senior High School year, my father had a heart attack and open heart surgery. I witnessed his dramatic life switch from a crew-cut company man to a singer and dancer in local Gilbert and Sullivan productions, taking Chinese cooking and modern dance classes, growing his hair and a beard and learning the art of a well placed valium when the stress of his bosses was too high.

The last solidified my choice to live my life NOW: to risk not being the same as everyone. To strike out on my own with no Daddy Warbucks back up. To make every choice based on the trueness it felt within me, regardless of other’s options. To avoid external measures.

Was it easy? Nawww. It takes a pretty strong constitution to swim up stream. I didn’t marry young and have children. I didn’t want to raise someone else to live their life true. I wanted to know the truth of me, in this body, on this earth, at this time. I wanted to feel ALIVE like Maggie The Cat and Auntie Mame. I did things my family didn’t understand. I sought out knowledge about the spirit and sociology, participating in a wide range of classes and movements, harvesting what was right for me and letting the rest go. Each decade revealed new challenges, understanding, temperance, disappointment, excitement and love until finally I was ready to write the book on just that subject and LO! science had caught up with my initial sensibilities.

In the 1990’s Paul Pearsall and Doc Childre premiered books on the factual discoveries of the Heart’s Intelligence separate from the brain and the actual existence of the heart’s wisdom. It spurred me to add my voice to that knowledge with the creation of the novel, THE HEART CODE, illustrating the hows and means for hearing and heeding one’s heart. And I wrapped it around the facts of an ancient civilization, the original Bohemians, Circa 3000 BCE (who inspired your own work, Mr. Brooks: Bohos In Paradise).

So in essence, my philosophic choice turned into my purpose many years later.

As Gamma says to her granddaughter in The Heart Code:
“To make dream is good, is part of life. Is how we know ourselves, test ourselves . . . but maybe is only small part of journey. More important, maybe, is what happen along the way. The people we meet. The laughter we find. The trouble we work through. Things we cannot know or imagine. Things we cannot dream. Things that come out of following our dream. This, I think, is what life is really for. To find out who we are from what we face, with courage, with creativity, with truth. This is why we have life, I think. Dreams are just something to do while we learn how to live.”

I think that is true for the majority of people who live as best they can from a good interior set of values. From my experience, the only thing I have to pass on to every generation is this: We now know we are mostly the same, in our DNA. So what makes us unique is our path. The key skill for finding that path is hearing your own heart voice. Everything we need to maximize our learning and loving on this planet is already in one’s heart. In essence: It’s An Inside Job.

**** Now, if you like, Share Yours! ***

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40 Years Hence …


We all went to Glen Rock High School in the 1970’s …. HENCE, we are bright, engaged, alive, lively, interested, interesting and ….

Well, what did YOU discover at your 40th HS Reunion?

Mine was held on Saturday, Oct 11th, 2013 in a standard issue hotel about a half hour north of our home town. For some reason it began at 8pm (a mite too late in my book) but it began with a jolly, lilting rolling feast of conversation, bouncing off one to another and another.

What a delightful surprise to find, 40 years hence, a nice group of people who have kept themselves well – with some looking better than ever: Christine Hellendorn – my roomie for the weekend, Robert Costello (hunk!), Mary Anne Liss – OMG her hair was free to be and looked fantastic, Kathy Feeney Luppino (I know, not technically a classmate but married to one and looking so happy and calm!), Elaine Deguise Lynn, Rick (Texan) Phieffer,  Steve Fisher (come on – he got even better, our Robert Redford), Ed Kramer (I just wanted to pinch him he was so cute, Mike Policano – distinguished, and many others who’s names I can’t remember (sorry)!  All in all it was a delight to be with everyone!

GRHS 40th Reunion GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAOf course – it really isn’t fair to have a Nancy Freeman Shortway in your class, but everyone has one.  Tall, lithe, blondy-blond with the biggest blue eyes – the girl whose HS beauty wrecked the bell curve.  And it REALLY isn’t fair that she’s EXACTLY the same – beauty wise – and nice, too.  She was my biggest surprise because the last thing I expected her to become was a Math Teacher = and for 7th graders.  I’ll bet many a young man is pretty excited when they find out who their math teacher is.  And I hope she also inspires the girls, too! (see: you can be pretty and good at math, too!).  Thanks, Nancy, for quashing the stereotype!

Of course we all gravitate to the ones we knew best … My core posse Sr. year was: Janet Christie (my Panther mascot buddy), Paul Schneider and John Luppino,

But I was not one to limit my interests and friends.  I had a wide range of people to care about …. in multiple grades.  Seeing Elaine Deguise Lynn was such a joy – as we were friends through a unique group of girls named “Fungi Monjew” … a multi-grade eclectic group who got together and did fun things.  Now I’m going to break the code here …. 40 years hence … and reveal Fungi Monjew’s best project:  LUCKY GUY OF THE WEEK.  Those who received the award may remember the construction paper blue and yellow ribbon that appeared on their locker – with no one claiming responsibility. At one point, the cheerleaders tried to claim responsibility but that didn’t last long as they knew it wasn’t true.  It was a stealth operation, conducted in the dark of night. So one day, when Steve Fischer set out to crack  who-dun-it, by staking out the back entrance of the school, checking off who it COULD NOT have done it because of their arrival time at school, he was hoodwinked by Fungi Monjew’s night operations – I know – I was the head of that department.  LUCKY GUY OF THE WEEK  was intended to bring joy and fun to the school week – and was awarded to a wide range of “guys” that reflected the wide range of girls in Fungi Monjew, so that no one group had a monopoly on being admired and liked. In that light, I’m sorry so many other members of FM were not in attendance at the reunion.  It would have been even more meaningful to see them, too.

What I loved most about the reunion is how relaxed it was. The 10-year was more tense – as we were all still sorting out how it was all going to work out.  But by the 40th – hey, our lives had taken the paths they were meant to – for the most part, I suppose.  But I did have an interesting discovery from that day – and it revolved around Steve Fisher.  For some reason I could not identify, I’ve always had a tension around Steve, and he knew it too, asking me: “What did I do? And whatever it was, I’m sorry”  It surprised me to hear him say that but I couldn’t name any specific thing.  The Dyan Bernstein said “He wasn’t mean to you, was he.” and while I couldn’t say yes, I also coundn’t say no.  Until I was walking to my room that night.  Then the subconscious ping popped.  I remembered!  He played a role in one of my first psychic bruises way back in 3rd grade.  But the story began in second grade, when Mom took us to Buster Brown Shoe Store for school shoes and I spied brown oxfords that looked glorious for walking, running, jumping.  She saw me eyeing them and said “Those are girl scout shoes” to urge me to yes, but I demurred, knowing that I could possibly get tagged for them looking like boys shoes.  But, throwing caution to the wind, I opted in and wore those shoes out that year, enjoying every step.  For third grade I didn’t hesitate to get them again … and that’s the year I got tagged …. a nattering nabob of 8 year old boys, Steve among them, averted their own boredom by seizing on the opportunity to taunt me “Your wearing boys shoes”, over and over and day after day.  It was a hurt I tried to ignore but it wiggled and niggled into my psyche and I never forgot the lesson that sometimes you make a choice that’s right for you but not for others, and you just have to tough it out.  Along the way, I consciously forgot about Steve’s involvement but subconsciously I never felt comfortable around him.  They say you can never change things you don’t acknowledge.  Thankfully this memory popped up and its hold on me is gone now.  So it goes. (more copy below the pictures)

Mary Anne Liss - LOVE THE HAIR!

Mary Anne Liss – LOVE THE HAIR!

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I hope everyone in the class looks upon the next 10-20-30-40 years as “what’s next” as they each continue their path.

I also have to thank all of you who took interest in my new Novel: The Heart Code.  This has been a life long dream and a 15 year endeavor, of which I am very pleased.  I gave a book to anyone who wanted to read it, with the request that if they like (love) it, to please buy a copy for someone else who would like it, and ask them to do the same.  It is my Marketing Department of ONE Grass Roots plan. Copies can be purchased via Amazon.com or via http://www.createspace.com/3666028 which delivers faster and gives the author a better royalty.  IF you do get the book, PLEASE send me a photo of yourself holding it, as the ones below – and THANK YOU Robert Costello and Chris Gardiner for buying a copy on your on volition.  kisses and hugs to all. (sorry for any name mispellings)

Betty Watson Nugent GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA Judy Miller GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA Wendy Kromer GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

PS: if any of my classmates are in the New Hope area, please let us know. We’d love to see you there.

Love, Laura

BOOB-E-TRAP? 13 YEARS SINCE MY LAST MAMMOGRAM


November – 2012 – IT HAS BEEN  13 YEARS SINCE MY LAST MAMMOGRAM.

Witch Doctor Icon

1999 was my last one – until recently – and given my experience – it may well be my last one, ever.

Why?  Because I am fed up with the “breast industry” that has created more and more “procedures” for the purpose of making money, while delivering more false scares.  Oprah and I share that story.  OPRAH BREAST CANCER SCARE

Over the past decade there has been a constant shifting in the frequency and age of mammography. First at 50 – every five years – then every year – then they pushed it to 30 and 40 year old – but switched to every two years. The “breast experts” began to resemble the “food pyramid experts”, and look what they produced: a fat country.

Plus, I don’t like the idea of shooting radiation into my body – not for my teeth, not for my breast – unless absolutely necessary.

But this year, I allowed my young Doc to convince me to have a baseline mammogram. Which I did.  Then I got the call they needed a closer look at my left breast.  Whew – I thought the first  Poke, Prod, Twist, Squeeze was tough – the “close up” one was even more painful.  What is all that squeezing doing to our cells, I ask you? No man would ever allow this to be done with his pecker or balls, period.

But honestly, all of that was fine, generally.  What I objected to was the full court sales pitch that came after the scan.

The nurse (a Jane Lynch look-alike) takes me into the small, dark, hot, stuffy radiologists’ room who shows me the scan which looks like a small cluster of snow. They want to biopsy it – to see if it is cancerous.

“What?” I needed some clarification.  Like, what was I looking at on the screen and what was involved in a biopsy?

The radiologists explained that it could be simply some ducts that were non-cancerous  and clogged or had not opened … but they wanted to stick a needle into my breast and draw out some tissue to check, to make sure.

“And how do you biopsy that?” I asked.  The nurse explained two options

Option 1: A Surgeon cuts into you breast – guided by the projected image of your mammogram on your chest. FULL BOAT SURGERY.

Option 2: Lie on a table, breasts hanging out two holes, local anesthesia, shoot in a needle to draw out a sample tissue, leaving behind a little clip in the breast, then have ANOTHER Mammogram to see if they got the right spot. Oh, and I believe that is followed up with radiation and some kind of toxic medicine.

Really?  Would you let a mechanic do a procedure like that on your car? With that kind of outcome?

I looked closer at the image on the screen and said: “I’m going away for 6 months. I don’t think I’ll do anything about this until I return.”

The radiologist and nurse visibly shifted in their attitude and that’s when the full court press began – a concerted effort to convince me that having a biopsy was necessary.  As the Nurse walked me toward the exit, she urged me to reconsider with the zeal of someone on commission to capture a new recruit for a cult. No Joke.  And she did so right by the reception room, for everyone to hear.

I finally escaped and buzzed home – incensed – and remembering the woman I met just the day before who shared this horrific story of her daughter’s breast “cancer” experience – and subsequent surgery to get a cyst removed, that turned into a full-blown catastrophe because the surgeon punctured the cyst, spreading into the breast whatever was inside the cyst and now no one will touch her unless she agrees to have her breasts removed.

The woman then tracked down her daughter’s radiologist, who actually remembered her daughter’s scan and admitted: “You know, we really don’t  know a lot about this breast cancer yet. We just sit in a room and stare and stare at radiograms all day until we think we see something. ”

Really?!  But then, I’m not really surprised.

I’ve had the sense for years that Breast Cancer is an INDUSTRY, a CASH BOX and I was not a patient – I was a sales opportunity.

Breast Cancer is rapidly becoming the same as Prostate Cancer – which most men will get … but die of something else.

It’s not that I’m sticking my head in the sand -My aunt died of a full-blown case of Breast Cancer – in her early 80’s.

She knew she had a problem but refused to do anything about it as she was not going to spend her last years in a hospital environment.  She is my heroine.

It IS upsetting to hear someone suggest the BC word to you and it takes a lot of gumption to step back from the rush of treatments they push. But I believe we should SLOW DOWN rather than rush into procedures.  Even the radiologist said to me she believed there were too many biopsies being performed unnecessarily and she cited an article from READERS DIGEST that said the same.

“Mammograms also offer a smaller benefit than many patients — and doctors — assume. Mammography’s effectiveness has been hotly debated, but a carefully conducted 2005 analysis suggests it cuts the risk of dying of breast cancer by 15 percent, says the NIH’s Kramer. That means a 60-year-old who gets regular mammograms shaves her risk of dying of the disease in the next decade from 7 per 1,000 to 6 per 1,000.” (Readers Digest Article)

My cousin recently called to say she heard a news report that stated 1 out of 3 women will be over-diagnnosed with breast cancer and 1 out of 3 women will have unnecessary procedures. ONE OUT OF THREE!!

So Ladies – “Do No Go Gentle Into That Good Night…” Do not believe what they say on first sight.  Stop, Look, Listen, Research and Advocate for Yourself–  before you become a cog and a commodity in the Breast Cancer Wheel of Industry.

BREAST CANCER MISDIAGNOSIS ARTICLE New York Times Article

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