Death as a Punctuation Mark

Plants at E window

I was just doing some stretching and moving in our family room, looking out of the picture window past our house plants gathered there for the morning sun. As I stretched, I spontaneously said aloud, “Tally (my recently deceased uncle Howard), if you can hear me, I want to tell you that I really appreciate the way you always greeted me with warmth and enthusiasm. I’m also grateful for the friendship you and my dad shared, and how much you both acknowledged that, before and after he died. I’m also thankful for the times you, aunt Betty, and various combinations of your kids took I and my brother Tommy along with y’all on adventures—to the camp on the bayou, to Whiskey Chitto Creek, and to Fatima high school football games when I was still too young to play.”

I don’t know if Tally lives on after death, or, if he does, if he could or would listen to my words. All the same, I felt a stirring in my heart as I spoke them, some moisture in my eyes, even as I do now as I type this—smiles, tears, and some other unnamable ingredients in the emotional gumbo, sweet with a bite.

A friend of mine reported the other day at our early morning mindful men’s meeting that it was a two-funeral day for him. He also shared that such times actually give him opportunity to feel more connected to the departed ones, and also to other living people. I also often find that true. In our discussion, I mentioned that sometimes I look at death as a punctuation mark. As I think more about that, I realize that death often brings more like an assorted collection of punctuation marks for me.

When someone dies, something certainly seems to change. I’m not sure what exactly. Is death a comma (not “coma” as I just read in reviewing)? Does life, does awareness continue on in some way? Or is it more like a period, the end of consciousness, a turning off of the computer for good? I wonder. I’ve had no experiences so far that suggest that I’ll be aware after I die. At the same time, I’m open to whatever adventures might arise. Oh yeah, and I do talk to people who’ve died, expressing gratitude and sometimes asking questions even. It helps me here and now, even without faith or confidence that I’m connecting.

Meanwhile, I figure that the kind of person I’d be after I die would be much like or the same as the character I am now. So, it makes sense to me to “live like you were dying,” as Tim McGraw’s song puts it. A key ingredient for me in that is savoring the flow of experiences moment by moment. I even remember to do that sometimes. I think of it as fruit there for the picking. Telling others how they brighten my life also tends to bring smiles inside and out. I probably remember to do that less than the savoring part. Opportunity! Thankfully, I told uncle Tally more than once how I valued him, including the time he shared similar sentiments with my father the afternoon my pop took his last breath.,!?

Silly Salvation

Brad and I went for a walkabout around our neighborhood yesterday afternoon after Andrea and I made our daily inspection around Wilson Park. As is often the case, I found both outings quite rejuvenating and relaxing. Brad wrote about our ambulatory antics in his blog today. I sound like a pretty decent fellow. Feels good!

writing to freedom

Silly Salvation


Silly Salvation, poetry, play The Fantasmas by Belén Soto

we embrace and talk

a moment to laugh and walk

relief from the daily grind

letting go of my fearful mind

the stories don’t matter

reduced to minor chatter

thanks to a walk with thee

my heart is full of glee


The gifts of friendship and laughter.

This poem was inspired by my friend David who embodies the gifts of play, laughter, and enthusiasm. It is such a pleasure to spend time in his company. A walk in the neighborhood becomes a healing retreat; full of laughter, acceptance, and connection. Dave has a gift for making fun of life and himself in a way that helps me let go of my stories and a mind that wants to figure everything out. Most of us are stuck in our stories, needing to endlessly repeat them in a hopeless attempt to gain the love, relief…

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Learning the Fundamentals, Day Four: Identify Your Audience

This is today’s (actually yesterday’s) assignment from Blogging University. I’m going for easy and transparent, so I copied the instructions and will fill in:

…Today, publish a post you’d like your ideal reader to see, and include a new-to-you element.

Here’s how:

  1. First, brainstorm the kind of person you hope will read your blog. What do you want to say to them?

Welcome, reader. I prefer talking in person with others, at least most others, while at the same time writing like this gives us a chance to share things in convenient ways. I’m learning how to communicate using a blog so that it has the most benefit to you while also being easy and enjoyable to read.

  1. Next, start your new post by clicking on the button below. Remember to include a media element (an image, a video embed, etc.) you haven’t experimented with yet.

I’m thinking video. Very simple. Let’s see if I can pull that off. I see that when put text in-between the numbered assignments, #2 became it’s very own #1. I like that: cheeky numbers.

I’m pasting the link to a video I just shot on my iPhone and uploaded to TouYube:

  1. Finally, give your post a few tags, including bloggingfundamentals, and publish it.

I’ll also add the tag “cheeky numbers.” That makes me chuckle.

Writing with a specific person in mind is a great way to focus your thoughts and goals. Exploring new media elements adds more tools to your storyteller’s toolbox and helps engage your readers.

Autumn Glory

I resonate with Brad’s post on the falling of Fall. I also like the snowflaky things tumbling down the page following the cursor.

writing to freedom

Autumn GloryAutumn, colors, poetry


walking down the street

shimmering colors glowing

my soul is replete


We had our last hurrah of colors last week. This was taken on a delightful walk in Fayetteville’s downtown. I’m glad to have a few pictures to treasure those glowing colors as we head into winter, cold weather and barren trees. Enjoy!

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Learning the basics of WordPress.



“La Artista Invisible” (my wife Andrea at work)

I’m renovating this site and blog. I plan to add a podcast, and other enjoyable and useful elements.

I’ve quickly discovered that my quick-start approach has me  up in the air well enough, though in a plane that has quite a few features that are baffling to me. This makes not for fun flying.

Thankfully, I’m not actually up in a plane. I’ve found flying machines impossible to park in the sky whilst getting up to speed with the manual.

C-ing (seeing) Communication

November 18, 2016


My wife and I are back from a four-day trip to CA to visit her mom, who is in her final chapter, maybe paragraphs, of life. What follows is a slightly edited version of notes I dictated this morning to my phone. After taking out the obvious goofy translations, I decided to post this to this blog, because, why not? No one need read it, but one can if it’s here, so, here it is. Editing is by far the most challenging aspect of writing for me (probably living, too!). If I publish a book or an essay, I’ll invest time in concision. For now, I’m simply going to share what I’m doing in this less-refined way, and see how that goes.

Among other things, I’m getting back to exploring, examining, reviewing, and thinking about communication. I’m renewing my R&D of Clarifying, Caring, Curious Communicating (“C-ing Communicating.” There are many other C words that go well before ‘communicating’, so I’m experimenting with simply calling it “C-ing –pronounced “seeing”– Communicating or Communication.” More later on that). I’m exploring how I can, how we can communicate better, and how that can foster flourishing and enjoyment for all of us.

One important element is learning to communicate using those “C” qualities with myself, that is, between the various points of view and patterns in this particular brain-mind-body. There is seemingly one particular, conscious, verbal aspect of mind that wants to call itself “I.” And the other Pods (Parts of Dave) appear to be fine with that. I applied that self-talk this morning as my “jackal” element (cf. NVC, which uses a Jackal to stand for that part of us which is aggressive, critical, impatient, etc.) was quite agitated about me not getting into gear. “We” had a “conversation” out loud, which led me eventually to prioritize this researching, writing and sharing about communication, in front of getting into the weekly review of getting things done, and getting things organized.

One of the essential elements of that conversation was to understand what Jackal was saying, feeling, and wanting. I ended up putting the clerical work that he was agitated about after this communication R&D, and at the same time “he” seemed fine about that, because he knows I’ll get to the processing of papers and other matters afterward with renewed enthusiasm.

This R&D process can be seemingly messy, which is to say that when one explores things that are not set in stone or completely understood, which many things are, especially in the realm of psychology and communication and wiggly subjects like that, there is no clear map. That was a long sentence.

So, communicating, and learning about communicating, is a practice, a skill that builds on itself, and that we learn to do over time, along with practicing with other people, and listening and being curious about ourselves.

So what am I doing? I’m learning about, researching, and applying, all that I reasonably can about communicating, influence, compliance, negotiation, and related matters. I’m sharing what I find in person, and with as widespread as I reasonably can. Or unreasonably can. May we have clarifying, caring, curious conversations: “C-ing communication.”