Sunday, January 27, 2008

What is your passion?

Muse on this a few moments. Where and what is your passion? In what are you engaged when you sense a quickening of your heart and soul? When do you feel most alive, most in touch with your own essence?

Each of us may have multiple replies. Perhaps your list is ever growing.

Scanning back over the years can yield important clues to opportunities for future inclusion, for ways to bring more passion into life.

As a child, what activities held your attention? You might recall such deep absorption that you were surprised by hearing, “It’s time for dinner!”

I remember experiencing this phenomenon when I was reading, writing stories, finger painting, choreographing little dances for myself, lying on my back in the grass while watching clouds, and being steeped in imaginative play. I enjoyed playing checkers, card games, jacks, jump rope, and hopscotch.

My sister and I nurtured our doll children in our play house (converted from a chicken coop by our father and uncle, bless them). We took our host of “little ones” for wagon rides near the woods and on picnics in the backyard. When they were sick we held them, murmured encouraging words, and gave them medicine.

Within these reflections, I can see some roots of what feeds my soul today: writing, spontaneous dance, meditating, making art, walking in woods and on beaches, and reading. I feel intensely plugged into the heart of life when I teach meditation to eager students, when I connect with individuals in therapy sessions, and when I place my hands in someone’s energy field.

At parties and other social gatherings, the one question I like to ask is, “What feeds your soul?”

SO - - what feeds YOUR soul?

~ Dena Ward Clayton

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How much do people really change?

It was 41 years ago this month that we started the second semester of our senior year at Woodson.

Some of us were excited about our basketball team, the year after the Cavaliers made it to the state quarterfinals. Others were rehearsing for "Extrazaganza" or getting ready to try out for "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."

Those of us in the band were preparing for competition, learning the extremely difficult "Overture Candide." And once a week at lunch time, I was getting together with nine other guys to practice for the appearance three of us would make on "It's Academic."

I don't remember very many of those nine. I know Roger Pasternak and Ray Redd were the other two guys who actually went on the show, and Thom Smith was our alternate. I know my good friend Gary Oleson was one of the other six, but that's all I can remember.

It was an interesting year. I remember nearly every night before going to bed, listening to WBZ out of Boston, WKBW out of Buffalo, CKLW out of Windsor, Ontario, or WCFL ("The Voice of Labor") out of Chicago for my nightly rock 'n' roll fix.

There weren't any girls in my life that year. My long-time friend Tracy Antley had transferred away, and mostly what I remember about that year was the unbridled teenage lust I felt for my French teacher.

Of course there were the lovely majorettes I saw twice a day in the band room -- Rande Barker, Joan Ansheles, Donna Fenerty and the others, including Karen Theurer, who might actually be the most beautiful girl I've ever seen except for maybe Jane Seymour.

But lately I find myself wondering:

What if we did it all again? What if some cosmic twist of fate put those of us who are still around into the halls of Woodson in September 2016 for one year as real seniors?

We proably wouldn't have much of a football team, that's for sure. Bones are far too brittle at our age, and most of us probably don't run all that fast anymore.

But I wonder if a lot of the kids who were too shy ever to say boo when we were young might not be the outspoken leaders. Late bloomers, you know.

Would Mike McCuddin still be the class president?

Would Bob Douthitt still run the student government?

Or would both of them have gone on to other, more satisfying ways to spend their time?

I guess the real question is how much have we changed.

I certainly hope we'd be more tolerant -- and I think we would -- toward the ones who were sort of outcasts in 1967.

After all, we have grown up.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What if it all was just a dream?

I woke up confused this morning.

That's not an entirely new occurrence for me, but it happens rarely enough that it still manages to throw me. For a couple of seconds, I couldn't remember where I was or even what year it was.

One thing that compounded the problem briefly was that the clock radio was set to an oldies station and "My Heart's Symphony," by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, was playing. That's a song you rarely hear, and it was popular during the summer between our junior and senior years.

I smiled to hear it, remembering at the same time that it was 7 a.m. on a Monday in January 2008 and I had to hustle to get ready for work. But the song stayed with me and I was humming it during my 43-mile commute.

I don't dream about high school. I don't know why that is, but I do know that I have been thinking about those days a lot more since I went to the reunion in October and then started this blog.

When Dale posted the 1967 yearbook the other day, I spent a few hours going through it page by page and bringing back memories. I saw people who had been my friends but had completely vanished from my memory. I remembered playing bridge at lunch in high school, but I sure didn't remember that there had been a bridge club and that I had been the treasurer.

I read a story once in which the writer compared the passage of time to a river. When you're young, the river is a lazy, meandering stream; by the time you get old it's a raging river.

My river has been raging for some time now. I don't know if I have 10 years left, or 20, or 30 or more. But I know I've changed. I'm not that kid who listened to Gary Lewis sing in the summer of 1966, for better or for worse.

I think of the kid who was terrified to ask girls out and I smile.

I think of the kid who walked the halls with his head down and I sigh.

But I think of the young soul who really believed in the goodness of others and the beauty of the world and I can't believe I was ever that innocent.

Was it real ... or was it all a dream?

Maybe a little of both.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just another something to read and consider

I haven't been around much lately.

Things have been busy here, and I have been hoping some of the other bloggers would step up. Dale did, in a big way, when she got our yearbook on line.

Just a thought: I've been changing some of my blogging tendencies. I decided that two of my blogs weren't that much fun, so I cut them. Other than this one, I now have only "The American Hologram" and a new/old one -- "Captive on the Carousel."

Go to the links on the side and check them out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Our Senior Yearbook is Now Online!!!!

Our 1967 Senior yearbook is now online and can be located at:

> > > > > > > <> > >

I am also sending an email out to everyone for whom I have an active email address.

There is no set of instructions for using the website. The short time I have played around with it has helped me, but so far I have been able to make only rudimentary searches...of course, it could be me....?????

When you logon to the site, just note that it has 3 sections. Left column (section) is where you would enter your search words. Also, once you click on the yearbook itself, the left side column also lists the index (in very simple terms). You can click on "Help" in this section to get to the "search pointers and limitations."

Top right section contains the "search pointers and limitations." If you enter a word to search in the left section, everywhere your word is found will also pop up on this top right section.

When you click on the yearbook site, the yearbook will open up on the bottom right side (which is the largest section). You can also then expand that section by clicking and dragging the section dividers.

Good luck and we look forward to any positive, helpful feedback from those of you who become friends with the site and negative, yet positive feedback from those who do not. I will send the feedback to the owners of the site.

One more thing. I did not have scanning capabilities so that is why I mailed my yearbook to this company. It costs about $60 (which is a gift from our class). My point is that if one of you has the capability to scan in each page of a yearbook, it costs nothing to get the other yearbooks online. The company wants to make their real money from people who want a CD burned of the yearbook. So we can do the remainder for free if someone can make that happen.

Have fun!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

All right, let's try something different

I loved Sean Kennedy's comment on the experience he had with a ripped set of tuxedo pants, and I found myself thinking that if there's one thing almost all of us have in common, it's probably embarrassing social circumstances.

I'm hopeful that all of them are far enough in the past to laugh at.

So step up, share your most embarrassing in a humorous way movements.

I'll go first.

It was the fall of 1969 and I was at a fraternity party at George Washington University, the second of my four stops on my 14-year quest to finish college. It was a rush party, and I was with a girl I had met at a mixer the week before.

She knew some of the guys in the house, and she was partaking heavily of the "purple Jesus" punch. Ah, those were the days. We were on the dance floor, her dancing somewhat groggily, when all of a sudden she slipped on a wet spot on the floor and fell flat on her face.

I was horrified for her and reached down to help her up. I didn't think it would be a big deal -- people slip all the time -- but I was surprised to find that she had passed out. I looked around to see if anyone had noticed, but most everyone was looking the other way.

By now she was snoring softly.

I finally managed to awaken her and get her over to one of the couches.

The funny part of the story actually didn't happen. A few days later, I was telling my best friend Mick about what had happened. He asked me if anyone had noticed and if it had caused any problems.

I said no and he told me what I should have done.

If a guy came up and asked, "Is that your date on the floor?," he said my response should have been this:

"Nope. My date's in the ladies' room."

-- or --

"Nope. I don't like girls."