Your Weekly Diversion, Week 51: Happy New Year!




We have arrived at Week 51 of Your Weekly Diversion. I began writing these posts in January of 2017. It started as a forum for distraction and diversion from current events and became much more. I guess we’ll both find out next week if the name stays the same or morphs into something new.


While alluding to the political circus of the past year, we’ve been reminded that it is OUR circus. My fellow Americans, we must live our values and especially at the ballot box. This year has demonstrated what happens when too many of us let charlatans sway us from the truth. And yet, this year has also shown us that when we get woke, we do act in our best interest.

The showman in chief has tried to convince us he has our backs, but really the backs he has are not ours. He has the backs of the rich and powerful. So this year, don’t let anyone tell you he’s kept us safe, created long term and substantial jobs, defended the poor and vulnerable, or enhanced the name and stature of this country. The showman who told us he could grab the genitals of any woman he chose, and double digit women came forward to say he actually did just that, the showman who has taken a baseball bat to the hornets’ nest above the 38th Parallel, the showman who has undone much of the good his predecessors have done, this buffoon has effectively threatened the integrity of our great nation and made us the laughingstock of the world. So, let’s get out there and take action, support candidates who care about the needs of the least among us here and abroad and who uphold the Constitution, do what we can to help others, and VOTE! If not now, when? Get serious! Get real! It matters! And so does today’s post. 😎


Week 51 deserves some diversions, right?

Okay, so you have a smart gadget that listens for its name and answers you? Even your smart phone will do it, as mine did yesterday when I said, “Are you kidding?” to a friend and Siri answered, “I kid you not.” I kid you not! Hear what happens when Amazon Echo talks to Google.


Now, if that’s not enough, how about Animojis doing funny things?

05627218-DC2C-4FEB-B812-E400AFAE5435Check out what happens when a mom tried to text her daughter with the Unicorn Animoji. Enjoy those comments, too!

And so, just to tie this whole fun internet thing up in a fun New Years Eve bow:


Before we conclude our diversions, here is an amazing morsel of Food for Thought I stumbled on today. Let’s all Get Woke and Stay Woke:



Happy New Year to you and yours from me and mine. May 2018 be a whole lot better and brighter than 2017 has been. Meanwhile here’s how 1946 rang in the new, with some cool pix of New York City:



Your Weekly Diversion, Week 50: Merry Christmas to All, However You Mark this Winter Season


Made with Repix (

Made with Repix ( by Shielagh

Tis the Season and this is Christmas Eve. On Week 50 we are fully diverted from whatever else is going on in the world. Here’s where my thoughts are today. My spiritual life has taken a circuitous route to where I am today.  Raised a Christian with a British godmother who marked my baptism with a Saint Christopher medal and another with the head of Christ, I was baptized at the age of 8 when my agnostic parents felt I needed direction. I kept for many years the beeswax baptismal candle I received that day, much like the one below.


I attended parochial school and sang in the choir. I even played Mary one year in the Christmas play. When I went off to a prestigious girls’ prep school in New England, we had chapel every morning, singing hymns and reading prayers from the Episcopal liturgy. I love the hymns still today. An enduring favorite of mine is “Jerusalem,” adapted from a poem by William Blake, a hymn we sang every year at special times, standing, singing in unison, with fire and feeling. Here are the words. and the music follows.

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

The images in that video of the verdant English hills and of Stonehenge, remind us that our early years as humans were unencumbered by formal theology as we know it but had a developing dogma of their own. For many of us, our ancient heritage springs from a Druid and Pagan beginning. For others of us, the spiritual path comes from the Yoruba tradition brought here from Africa by enslaved humans who have suffered and still continue to suffer from that indignity and racial prejudice that still lurks in the US and elsewhere. And elsewhere on the earth, others mark the winter solstice in their own unique ways, or not at all.

I was married at 20 to a rebellious fifth generation Friend in a solemn Philadelphia Quaker meeting, and they don’t incorporate music in their meetings, or didn’t then at any rate. Alas, a few years later I was a single mom looking for something that was missing. Thus I became a Mormon and spent a number of years active in that church, especially loving the music and always singing in the choir. When I saw this video, I decided to share it here. It touched my heart even as I wished they hadn’t felt the need to include the religious bit at the end. It was filled with loving meaning enough as it was. It brings with it the hope that a lost loved one can return one day. May it be so.

In my later years I converted to Judaism and then found the dharma way, the Noble Eightfold Path. and Buddhism is my practice today. I still observe the Jewish Holidays with my husband in our traditional but mostly secular way. And I practice Buddhist meditation daily.

The Wexford Carol we just heard has a rich and storied history. I was vaguely familiar with it, and then I found this sweet rendition by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss.

Merry Christmas!



Your Weekly Diversion, Week 49


Photo courtesy of


iPhone photo of a Southwest Florida sunset by Shielagh

Week 49 brings us to the sunset of the year 2017. Next week we will ring in the year 2018, alone or with family and friends, and it seems that many troubling financial changes will begin to take place. Whether or not we are blessed or cursed by those changes has a lot to do with our place on the income and asset continuum. I wish my diversions could overturn the damage it will do to those least able to manage it.

But diversions are needed, and here they are! Many of us meditate these days, perhaps  more than ever. Whether you practice Zen, Transcendental Meditation, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, walking meditation, or another of the many forms modern meditation can take, you may be part of a wonderful trend of reducing crime.

Made with Repix (

iPhone photo of the Waterside Shops Holiday display in 2016 by Shielagh

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice and Happy Kwanzaa to all who celebrate this week. Since this is the Season of Giving, here is a powerful guided meditation from Saddhguru on giving.


Photo from

Now, have you ever worried about the danger of getting a brain tumor from holding a cellphone to your ear as often as you do? Good news! Dr. Michael Greger covers this in a recent video. He reports that we are more likely to be killed by a distracted driver looking at his phone than to die from a brain tumor.

I saw this video recently in the comments of a friend’s blog, and I loved it! Turn up your sound and enjoy!



Our Dozers of Love

This blog post from our own David Nelson speaks eloquently what my own heart has been saying. He reminds us that the “eternal law of impermanence” means that this too shall pass. And so shall we. If we don’t stand up for what is right and stand against what is wrong, who will? If not now, when? Many make resolutions at this time of year. Others simply vow to live their values more fully. Whatever we call it, let us make the most of this life, however much of it each of us may have left, because that we cannot know.


mighty dozer of love ~d nelson

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

dozer vs mountain ~d nelson

If it was left up to me, and you,
everyone would have an equal opportunity
to live a simple…

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 48


Graphic from Wandanalu 2012

As the year 2017 draws to a close, it seems to me that many hearts are heavy. As a therapist I’m hearing about family conflicts, holiday stress and strain with shopping, cooking, wrapping, writing and sending, and nostalgia for the “good old days.” There are some other things dragging at our merriment during this holiday season. The so-called middle class tax cut threatens to send the deficit through the roof, only to be dealt with harshly later on. Its popularity with the people as I write is 29 percent. The “me too” movement is rightly shining a light on sexual impropriety in government as well as the corporate world and entertainment industry. As women and men come forward with credible allegations, people are reminded of their own experiences, some long buried or discounted as no big deal. The breast or butt grab, the unwanted sloppy kiss, the innuendo or outright proposition, the rape, each took a toll and haunted the wellbeing of countless among us.


Edited image from

Here in Florida this week we’ve lit the menorah with good friends, and we’ve made and savored our latkes and matzoball soup and stuffed our faces with jelly donut holes and chocolate. During that same evening we followed the Alabama Senate race and stayed up late to learn the results. We’ve shopped for family and one another and sent off our gifts. We’ve bought some holiday cards but haven’t begun to write them yet. We’ve attended a Christmas extravaganza starting outside with falling snow, a living nativity with cooperative infant, two goats and a little horse, carolers, and then an amazing show with 100-voice choir, orchestra, another living nativity with majestic arrival of the Three Kings, and many carols the 1,800 attendees in the audience sang, and ending with everyone singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah on our feet. The parking lot at this Baptist church was so vast that shuttle trams adorned with holiday lights ferried the elderly, encumbered and infirm to their cars when it all ended. We did truly enjoy it.

This time of year, it behooves us all to remember those less fortunate and do what we can to help. Whether we donate our goods, our money or our time, the need is huge. Yesterday the Guardian published a story that I recommend to everyone, difficult though it is to read and to view some of the photos. Many may be unaware that some 40 million Americans live in poverty in 2017. It is such a problem that the UN sent a reporteur to see the challenges and report back.


Photo courtesy of The Guardian

The city of San Fransciso has many homeless people living on their streets, but there’s a bright spot in their picture, Saint Boniface Church. The church is open daily for homeless people to sleep safely in the rear pews, even while Mass is being celebrated in the front of the church, a living example of the gospel of ministering to the poor. Social workers and homeless advocates also make themselves available to help connect the homeless with urgently needed services.


There is reason to hope today, and we mustn’t let the magnitude of the world’s problems drag us down. Everyone can help make the world a better place, each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Next month we will start as volunteers at our local animal shelter. Bloom where you are planted!






Your Weekly Diversion, Week 47



Numbers in Graphics Calculated and Designed by Charlie Eppes

Now we find ourselves at Week 47. What to do? Carry on. Pray for peace. Run like hell. Stop and breathe. Do the next right thing. Look for the answer.


First of all, do you wear an Apple Watch? If so, here’s a diversion you might really need to use. You can track your sleep with the Apple Watch. I downloaded a good app recommended by CNET after trying one I didn’t like. I started wearing it to bed at night. It tells me how many minutes it takes me to fall asleep, how many times I get up in the night, how many hours of light sleep I get, and how many hours of deep sleep I get. After a couple of nights there’s a trend feature to show how I’m doing. I can even tell how long I read before going to sleep. Very helpful.


The Apple Watch can call emergency services to help you. Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, neither did I. Until the wee hours last night. I had just gotten up for the usual reason and was getting settled back in bed when my watch sounded a sort of siren. Afraid of waking my husband, I hurried into the bathroom only to see that my watch had dialed emergency services, having activated the SOS feature. I immediately tried to hang up. No go. They called me back. So there I am in the john talking into my watch telling the nice caller that I am fine, answering all her questions as to my identity and location, saying it was my watch and her telling me, “It happens all the time.” Assured I was fine, she wished me a good night and I hung up. I tried to get back to sleep. Again no go. I took off the watch and put it in the charger.

I’m lying there wondering what I’ll have to do so this doesn’t happen again. Then I hear a knock on the front door. I struggle into my robe in the dark and go to the door, cursing under my breath. A sheriff is there, asking if I’m okay. I explain it was my watch. Okay, he says and I shut the door. Again I tried to get back to sleep. No go, yet again. I got up and opened my iPad and Googled the issue. I learned how to disable the function. I can see how this could be helpful but I also know now how annoying it can be as well. My husband never woke up during this drama, leaving me with quite a tale to tell in the morning. Still too alert for sleep, I wrote this post.

Cathy McGowan, Adam Brandt, Andrew Wilkie

Australia has just legalized marriage equality, and as Parliament voted in the affirmative, the entire chamber erupted in the national anthem. What a joyful time! Same sex marriages will begin to be performed there in the new year.


Photo courtesy of Purrfect Pals

Prisoners in the US and abroad are fostering dogs and cats, helping to socialize the animals and prepare them for adoption. The actress Glenn Close and Oprah Winfrey have supported the building of a place for prisoners to train dogs at the famed Bedford Hills women’s prison in Westchester County, New York. The rehabilitation is reciprocal and everyone benefits. Researching for this post, I found that there is a cat fostering program in a prison in Washington state (see photo above). And there are similar programs all over. This diversion was inspired by Xenia Tran’s Whippet Wisdom on a greyhound prison program. What a beautiful idea!


A friend in Denver just started an Etsy shop selling her beautiful hand knitted items. Since we’re in Florida, we don’t need warm hats, but maybe you do. Here’s a link to the Mad Hatted Boutique. I salute her entrepreneurial spirit!

So that’s it from me, writing to you from my living room, the only light coming from the cable box and a nightlight. Adrenalin level back to baseline. Wishing you all the best for a lovely weekend. You know, it’s all right.



Your Weekly Diversion, Week 46


On Week 46 there’s so much going on in the world landscape that we all need plenty of diversions. Let’s see, the winter holidays are nigh upon us, with Hanukkah starting the night of December 12 this year, and Christmas and New Year’s not far behind. Managing the holiday cards, whether by snail mail or email, and shopping for gifts, whether you give them on 8 nights or on only 1 day, there’s a lot to do! And of course, we have the political circus with its many fronts. You just can’t make up some of these news stories! We need our diversions NOW,  right?


Tony Leonard and the team of coworkers who worked together to make his prosthetics (photo courtesy of CBS News)

First, how about real good, feel good story? Like the sound of that? So do I! Honda workers built a coworker a new limb, and it works!


Next, it’s been reported in Lancet Psychiatry that researchers have found a treatment that helped schizophrenics suffer significantly fewer auditory hallucinations than those not receiving the experimental treatment, even when both groups continued to receive standard doses of antipsychotic medication. It’s called avatar therapy. As a mental health clinician, I’m interested in learning more!


Now, check out what happened when a GoPro camera was placed in the path of molten lava. Be sure the watch the whole video.

And to wrap up this week’s diversions, here’s a song in Spanish called “I Lava You” from the film “Lava” because, what else?