Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Bits of time

I like to wake up about 6 AM and go to bed about 10PM.  Sometimes, I don't wake up until 6:30 but we are pretty regular about getting ready for bed at 10.  I like to have a 2nd cup of coffee at noon but I am often anticipating it from 11:30 on. It is as much the suspense of whether it is actually noon yet as it is enjoying coffee or wanting caffeine.

 With getting up, going to bed, coffee and alcoholic drinks at 4, I want to resist drift in time.  I feel organized and in control when I have a schedule and stick to it.

I was surprised to find that several books and articles on sleep mentioned going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time were valuable habits for a good sleep.  I guess that the body has a sense of what time it is and when it is time to go into sleep mode.  

Because I am a clock-watcher, there are plenty of times during the day when I have x number of minutes before I should do something.  If the number is 15 or more, I might grab my Kindle and get a page or two read. If I make the effort to set a timer, I put my mind on reading or doing a Sudoku or bringing in the mail and the bit of time zooms by.  If I try to merely stay conscious of the time slipping away, the minutes drag. I look at the clock and I still have 6 minutes before it is sensible to leave. I look later and I still have 4 minutes.  

As I read this, it seems neurotic.  Why not just do the next thing on the calendar and not worry about what time it is?  The basic answer is that people I am working with don't want me to do that, won't be available, are busy until the designated time.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Hot, well, warm news items

When I read Numlock News today, I thought it might be nice to send it out on this blog.  But some energetic smarty pants are way ahead of me and read that for themselves. Here is a link to the Numlock News archive if you want to take a look at recent issues:  Walt Hickey and Oliver Roeder write similar newsletters that are free and mailed to subscribers on weekdays.  "Significant Digits" and Numlock both collect news items having to do with important numbers in the news.


I gave my car to my greatgrandson after he passed his driver's test.  I had asked my favorite car dealer to get me set up to buy a replacement.  When he showed me the Honda Fit, he started to explain that it had been leased by an older woman who rarely drove it.  "Oh, sure," I said, "you are going to tell me this was leased to a nice old lady who never drove it over 35 miles an hour."  He paused and said, hesitantly,"Yes". It can be difficult to convey that something which is more or less a cliche is, in this case, actually true.


My sister recommended I watch "The Professor and the Madman".  It is about the creation of the first Oxford English dictionary.  It is available on Amazon TV. The history of our tools and institutions is interesting, all the more so when I realize I have used dictionaries all my life without asking how they came to be and by whom.


I have growths on my face.  I went to see our dermatologist and he said they should be called "human spots".  He estimated he sees 100 seborrheic keratosis spots a day. I don't like them. He blasted them with his little can of very, very cold nitrogen or whatever it is.  He waited a minute and blasted them again. It hurt sharply but only for a short time.


If you are interested in better items to look at, use Firefox and its associated service called "Pocket".  I have several posts on this blog about Pocket. You can find them with the blog search window in the upper left corner of the blog web page

Or look at the links here:

Monday, July 29, 2019

Use questions to see what actually is

It was only a couple of months ago that I first saw the word "influencer'.  One difference between my blog and most is that I try to avoid any sort of "monetizing".  I do have readers from other countries. Over the past week, about 200 page views have come from people in the US and abroad besides the 70 that get the blog by email.  I read that many Chinese young people want to be an "influencer". It seems an iffy job to me. I get the feeling that unless one has a million followers or subscribers, that job will not be a path to riches.  

Coaches, teachers, politicians and many others can be said to aim to influence others.  If I am spending too much time fantasizing about being a great hero, I might pay a psychotherapist to help me straighten out.  The large number of people who try to influence others is a group that is always on the lookout for more effective ways to change thinking and behavior in others. 

I have enjoyed writing a blog post every day and I have done that for about 11 years.  I just read a very experienced author who wrote that journaling each day has benefits but that it takes "patience and commitment." I suspect that calling for patience and commitment is not the best move.  Such language can be off-putting. Both of those words are somewhat general abstractions. When I do something regularly, such as re-experience the beauty and value of my wife, it doesn't feel patient or committed.  

I try to start with an open mind.  Is she luscious? Does she look like she would be satisfying to touch?  Is she witty? Does she say valuable things that I don't think of by myself? Yes, yes, yes and yes.   Conclusion: Wow! A treasure right here in the house!

I am afraid that telling people to enlist their patience and commitment is like telling them to be good.  Too general and too vague. If you want to go to the gym more often, as with appreciating my wife, I recommend questioning.  Did you go to the gym today? No? Do you want to go twice a week? Did you already go? See: it's questions. It's not teeth-gritting and perseverance.  Yes, in the long run, you show perseverance and commitment but you find those qualities and the right acts with personal questions, answering honestly and remembering what you want.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Operating while murky

I like to be alert for thoughts that seem to be good themes for a blog post.  It might come from years of teaching and presenting talks. It might be from more than 10 years of being fairly committed to writing a blog post each day.  Being conscious of what I am thinking and being alert to possible themes might stem from the period about 1986-1988 when Lynn made some web pages for my college students to use.  Once a teacher's class is scattered all over and can be submitting work and asking questions at any hour, a person can develop the habit of checking often to see if students have been active.

During my mornings these days, say from awakening about 6 or so to noon, an experience or a thought might suddenly seem blog-able.  I am surprised at how a promising idea can evaporate and be impossible to retrieve so I try to jot down a word or two immediately.

I'm not trying here to be a novelist but more of an observer and reporter so what comes up may get mentioned regardless of low importance or lack of logical connection to other comments or reports.

Eagleman's "Incognito" made a deep impression on my picture of my thinking and of anyone else's thinking.  He makes clear that we humans function in many ways outside of our minds. Our posture, movement, breathing and many other functions don't run through our conscious minds.  They are beyond, outside of our minds. Just a few minutes ago, I started reading the beginning of The Knowledge Illusion by Stephen Sloman and Phil Fernback.  The first few pages match the Eagleman ideas very well.  

Because I like people and teaching, I have not spent much time learning about the things I use.  I ride a mower but don't know much about its parts. I drive a car but ditto. Ditto the microwave and this computer and the router and the modem.  I'd write that it is all Greek to me but I might know more Greek than motors or plumbing or electricity or even my own body.

Of course, not only do I not know much but my knowledge is always getting out of date without notifying me.  While the hot, active, entrepreneur world is inventing and changing and modifying and updating, I am steadily forgetting.  It was brought home sharply when I was told a barrier had been detected. I had frozen my credit report. Oh, that? That was quite a while ago.  Wasn't it long enough ago that we can forget about it?

This morning I wanted to check Lynn's car window for a roadside assistance sticker.  I am recently updated [a little] and know that merely having her purse in the car will enable to turn on the engine and raise the window so I can see her roadside assistance sticker.  

Things are not like when I was a kid!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hospitalized by happiness

I noticed years ago that I would work with others on some committee project but we often would up doing something that was quite surprising to me.  I usually had a feeling of momentum, of traveling on a good road toward a good goal but often about ¾ of the way, the group would take a sharp turn toward a modification or even what I thought was quite a different sort of end.  I didn't usually feel horrified or endangered. I never felt that I had to resign in protest and distance myself from the work. 

That surprising twist business has multiplied and amplified over the years.  I have been told that people laugh outloud when a joke or something completely surprises them.  This would be a good place for me to insert a joke but I couldn't find any that seemed sufficiently adult and sophisticated.  The point is that when someone is surprised more or less pleasantly, they may laugh. As I age, I observe things in my mind, things among friends and relatives, things in the media that are funny.  There are days when I have so many delightful things happen by dinnertime that I sit down to supper with a sore, tired face. My smiling muscles are tired and my laughing muscles need a rest.

So here is a double warning.

  1.  If you can't find me sometime, check in the hospital.  I might have been so overcome by laughter, mirth and humor that I was rushed to the ER.  I might be on oxygen for a little while, while trying to catch my breath and return to normal. It is not that easy to be sober and somber these days.

  2. If you are younger (less than 70 years old), don't be too surprised if people, politicians, and preposterous situations and comments seem to pop up around you as you age, filling you with laugher and chuckles. If that happens, just take it as a sign that you still have good judgment and keen eyes.

Friday, July 26, 2019

What if I forget who I hate?

One of the people I follow on Twitter suggested the possibility of forgetting who he hates. I suspect that large groups of people, maybe groups mostly male, enjoy hating and get energy and inspiration from it.  It would be good if the persons hated had clear and outstanding characteristics that inspire hate. If they were notably hate-able, forgetting who they were or losing one's list of people to hate would be less bothersome.  Carrying a pen and a bit of paper, one could note a name upon recognizing a good candidate for the list.  

I realize that the resulting list might not be identical to the older set of those to hate.  But a few additions and a few omissions probably wouldn't matter much. A few on the list to be hated might be whole types rather than individuals, like blonde, left-handed Eskimos born in Ecuador.  For them a single label on the newly constructed list would be sufficient. I admit that a quick label for a whole group does leave the problem of verifying whether a given person is genuinely a member of the hated group, or merely an associate or neighbor of the hateds but without genuine group membership.

I might be embarrassed if I started liking someone, only to realize later that he was someone I had intended to hate!  I suppose I could try to cover my shame with a pretense that I had been hating in good form right along. I don't have very advanced skills in disdainful pseudo-tolerance that can be accepted as higher hating when examined in retrospect.  But if I do some snickering and sly smiling, I might be able to avoid being embarrassed. I could claim that I recognized his hate-ableness right along and had been quietly carrying authentic hatred in my heart.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

My first microwave and my new car

Last Wednesday, my oldest greatgrandson passed his driver's license test.  So, I gave him my car, just as my father did for me years ago. I got a different car.  I like Honda hatchbacks and their current model that is along that line is the Fit. My favorite salesman sold me a used model that is fancier than the one I gave away.

The other day, I sat down with the manual for the car and looked through it.  It has many features and capabilities built in. I am reminded of the first microwave I bought, around 30 years ago.  I didn't know much about the machines and I took a night class on microwaving. The machine I bought had several features I rarely or never used. Press this button for 1 minute heating.  Press this button for an elaborate multi-phase series of bursts and heats. I tended to press the time I wanted and let it go with that.

This new car has features I will probably never use.  I don't have a smartphone and may not learn to receive calls through car audio system.  I can get AM, FM, Spotify and may be able to tune into foreign broadcasts for all I know.  The car has a back-up camera to show me what is behind my vehicle as I back up. That camera switches to a view along the right side of the car when I turn on my right turn signal.  I seem to have to actually look at the left side mirrors when I turn left, manually, the old-fashioned way.  

Lynn's car senses a car in front that is going slower than her cruise control setting and slows her vehicle to cruise behind at a safe distance.  She can pass and have her car resume the designated speed. Mine doesn't seem to do that. Microwave, car, tv, computer - there can be many things in the house that are quite smart and have many abilities.  Whether I know about these features and use them is a different matter.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Weight of concepts

One of the most useful and haunting things I have read lately was in Larry Rosenberg's "Breath by Breath". I mentioned this three weeks ago in the post "Right Now".

A group of Americans went to Korea to practice meditation with Korean monks.  They meditated for 50 minutes and walked for 10 out of every hour from 3 AM to 11 PM for 90 days straight.  They were upset to learn that this group had the additional tradition of a week of no sleep in the middle of the 90 day period.  The leader went to an old priest who had done the whole deal many times. The old man said that the American was carrying the scary concept of a sleepless week in his head.  He advised just practicing concentrating on the exact moment at hand, not on fatigue or on achievement or on failure - just the present moment. Concentrating on keeping their minds on the present exact moment got the group through the test of no sleep.

I have long suspected that many short moments of noticing what I am doing and thinking about are more helpful for me and how and where I live than any sort of heroic discipline or trial.  Also, I see that nobody can actually hold a week without sleep in their mind. They have a concept of such a week, maybe of the highlights or low lights of what it will be like. They may have memories of specific moments of such a week or impressions of the week or opinions about its value or the way it was conducted.  

This is what Eckhart Tolle has been trying to get across to readers like me for years.  We make notes and we have memories but reality is only now, not a week ago nor tomorrow.  Our minds work in such a way that, coupled with language and sociality, we get in the habit of thinking we know what a week or an hour is, but our actual awarenss is limited to now itself!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


On the way home from our trip to Chattanooga, we got diverted by powerful storms.  We were aiming for Detroit but got sent to Akron. We deplaned. We re-loaded. Sorry, we deplaned.  We re-re-load. Sorry, so sorry! We deplaned. We loaded, somewhat grumpily. We got to Detroit. We got to our town!!!  True, 4 hours late, but so what? Try trekking across the country by conestoga.

Next day, we got hit by rough storms.  Knocked out the power, of 100,00 or so users of electricity.  But we can handle it, right? No dishwasher, no garage door lifter, no light, no tv, no charge for the Kindle, the iPad, iPhone, the Trac Fone, no computer, no air conditioning, no refrigerator, no freezer but it could be worse.  We did have water. We did have candles.  

Quite a bit of meat thawed and Lynn donated it to the homeless shelter.

But 15 minutes ago, internet!  Lights! Garage door opener! What will they think of next?

Monday, July 22, 2019

What happened

Bad power outage here.  May be days. Back as soon as possible.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

We are back

We have returned from a week in Chattanooga, Tennessee at a multi-generational Road Scholar program with Carol Burton.  Such programs feature activities that include grandchildren and grandparents. We had lots of fun amid a very convivial group.  I will describe some of our days after I catch up with living at home.

Friday, July 12, 2019


I was thinking about my thinking and my appreciation.  Appreciation of every thing good. There are many good things to enjoy, to savor.  To taste, to hear, to smell, to touch. When I think of appreciation, I think of the French bus.  

The situation is well captured by my experience of a bus ride through beautiful French and Italian countryside. I was the leader of the group and responsible for day-to-day upkeep of financial records. The ride provided a chance to get all my records up to date and temporarily relieve my worries about getting behind and failing in my duties. But, the countryside was very beautiful and I would probably not be coming this way again. Much like life, eh?

It's a choice again: enjoy the scenery and appreciate where I am, or get the records shipshape and feel good about my duties and our money.  The records weren't that complicated and I could do them at the hotel. Observe while I can.  

I am surprised at how much benefit I feel from meditating for 5 minutes first thing out of bed. So, I think about thinking and reflecting.  When I think about my aging brain, I know that Bob Crane's "Pickles" cartoon perfectly captures my memory these days. I can remember and I do, just not as quickly as I used to.

It seems to me that just sitting is way more fun these days.  Using my conscience and comparisons, I often see that my ego and pride lead me to assert I am better than others.  Then, a little reflection and internal investigation shows me I am worse, not better. As it says in "The Elephant in the Brain":

"At every single stage [of processing information]—from its biased arrival, to its biased encoding, to organizing it around false logic, to misremembering and then misrepresenting it to others—the mind continually acts to distort information flow in favor of the usual goal of appearing better than one really is."

Simler, Kevin. The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life (p. 8). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A gift to me

We are both rather practically minded.  We like to conserve our money and not throw it around.  So, today, when I visited Lynn in Q Gallery where she was host, I was wowed by a gift she had bought for me.  It is a wooden bowl made by the woodworker Mike Jagielo

There is great art all over Gallery Q

But Lynn saw that on most visits to the Gallery, I found that amazing wooden bowl and showed it to people.

I think it is amazing that anyone can make a smooth delicate bowl like that out of wood. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Expanding collections and culling

Culling or weeding is the act of going through a collection and removing items that are out-of-date, or don't "spark joy", if you use Marie Kondo's criterion. Years before Marie, I learned about Don Aslett.  He has several books about de-junking, de-cluttering and avoiding unwanted expansion of a mass of goods such as photos and books. Aslett wrote "Clutter's Last Stand" and other books because of his job, which was cleaning offices.  He and his crew often found that cleaning was fairly simple but clearing obstacles in the way of cleaning wasn't.

For older people, the thought of a bereaved relative facing all the stuff stashed in the basement, the attic, the garage and that rental storage unit across town is haunting.  Lynn is a librarian and a teacher of librarians so she has experience facing a library full of books. Most libraries have strong space limitations and must keep the collection limited to what will fit conveniently in their footage.  She has the patience to look at each photo or piece of clothing and decide whether it is worth keeping.  

You may know that Ecclesiastes 12:12 says "Of the making of many books, there is no end."  Further, archived emails, saved receipts, pictures of the kids all pile up. Aslett really helped me when he wrote that just because I get rid of the vase Grandma used to own does not mean I didn't love her.  I realize that books and vases often serve as reminders. I see that book and I am transported back to the place and the day I bought it. I don't need to open the book or put flowers in the vase.

Several of my friends seem to blanch at the thought of being forgotten.  The Disney/Pixar film "Coco" explains that our souls reside in a special place after we die as long as someone alive remembers us.  Once all those who knew us forget us or die, we vaporize completely. When I think of such oblivion, I think of all my ancestors I never knew.  I never have known them and I can't think about them. But I salute their contribution to my body and my heritage and my life.

Meanwhile, I actually can go through my shirts and my books every once in a while and remove outdated items that I can now see do nothing for me.  True, items that have survived the cull repeatedly attain a semi-sacred status but I can still live without them. Maybe, even live better.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Beware of messages from "me" that are fake

A friend just reported a phishing email from my Gmail address that was connected to "  Don't click on links in such a message.  Delete it.  Bill

Trying to help

My Quaker workshop each day last week was "Life Lessons of a Bad Quaker."  It was run by Brent Bill, author of the book by the same name. One of the things Brent did was show this video, twice.  It is called "The Honest Preacher".

Teachers, therapists, physicians, politicians, as well as preachers, have flocks of people to minister to.  We are reading aloud "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb. Much like the preacher in the video, the therapist often wants to say "Stop it!"  Hard as it may be to believe, people often don't know what they are doing that needs to stop. Sometimes, they have a clue, though, but don't know they are entering the problem area as they do.  Sometimes, they know, especially after the fact, and are punishing themselves even as they continue what they shouldn't. Smoking and drinking to excess come to mind.

All the leaders of flocks know that self-control, discretion and empathy are basic to doing their job well.  A sense of proportion can help bring patience to a long struggle to open eyes to a problem. Some small step in the right direction might be noticed and strengthen the shepherd's ability to perserve without naming names or accusing people in front of others.  Even a private session that uncovers the burden the leader has been carrying in dealing with one's journey can undo progress and send the client/parishioner/student back into pointless self recrimination. 

If any humor appreciated by both leader and client can be found and used, it can be very helpful.  Leader and client both use their conscious minds steadily but sub-conscious feelings of unity, camaraderie and mutual humanity can emerge on the side and below awareness, increasing the friendliness and appreciation of each other.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Can I have a word?

Lynn commented the other day that "scared" and "sacred" were very similar words.  Sometimes, old advice for good or holy living is "Fear God and uphold His commandments".  So, maybe the right sort of being scared is related to the Sacred.

Lynn plays many word games every day so it does not surprise me that she sees the letters involved and the way they can be arranged.  A quick search on "When did humans first begin to speak?" yields the answer "2 million years ago". Writing is said to have been invented in the last 10,000 years.  So, roughly, speech is 200 times as old as writing. Babies babble and I think I have read that babbling is similar the world over.  

But both activities, speaking and writing, have to do with language.  Susan Langer has a memorable example in her book "Philosophy in a New Key".  She says,"Say 'John' and John's dog will start wagging his tail while his wife will say "What about John?"  The human holds the CONCEPT of John in mind and thinks about the concept. Where, when, why, who, how about John?

I am intrigued by what language does for humans.  This blog post from 2009

salutes the power of language, which in today's world of iPhones and social media does not really need further emphasis.  Still, our wiring and our throats and our brains are such that we can use concepts and words, even alone, to distance ourselves from something scary or to get up close and analyze feelings, facts and events.  We get so used to using language, including internal language and notes and journals for just ourselves, that sometimes we have to re-learn and re-emphasize the difference between words or concepts and actual physical facts and events out in the world.

We often use the test that if we can put something into words, spoken or written, we understand it. 

We can store so much in a word that we can be blind to how much is not included.  I watched the final game between the US women's soccer team and the Netherlands. It is easy and companionable to ask "Did you see the US play the Dutch team?" and hear back "Yes, I saw the game" when what I saw and felt and remember might be very different from what you saw and remember.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Right now

I am interested in breathing, in continuing to breath and to learn about breathing as a tool in meditation and self-control and self-knowledge. I first learned about getting close to one's self thru Benson's "The Relaxation Response" and Gallwey's "The Inner Game of Tennis".  I needed to learn to keep my attention anchored and I chose a visual anchor.

But later, I learned that concentrating on the breath was an old idea and that doing so had some real advantages.  After reading for a while, closing and resting my eyes feels very good. I also read Gay Hendrick's "Conscious Breathing" and Larry Rosenberg's "Breath by Breath".  I read about square or box breathing, where I inhale for a count of 4, hold for count of 4, exhale for 4 and hold for 4. I read Andrew Weil's advice to use a count of 4 on the inhale, hold for 7 and exhale for 8.  I have read about the large and central vagus nerve in the body and how it is helped with an inhale of 4 and an exhale of 8.

Reading Rosenberg, I learned about his trip to Korea to practice with Korean Buddhists.  The group was to practice meditation from 3 AM to 11PM for 90 days straight. That seems too rigorous to me.  So, when I read that that group was going to spend a solid week without sleeping, I thought the idea was REALLY over the top!  

The problem was that, in addition to my fatigue, I was carrying around an extra burden: the concept of seven days without sleep. I would be able to get through the week, he said, if I would put that burden down, if I took every activity moment by moment, breath by breath, giving full attention to whatever it was. Every sitting period, every walking period, every break, every meal. Just stay in the moment, and I would be fine.

He was right. The week was still difficult—I actually got to a point where I was hallucinating—but I was able to get through it. My concentration increased dramatically, as did my confidence in sitting. As our presence in meditation deepens, we actually need less sleep. I myself don't use such practices in my teaching; they are brutal on the body,

Rosenberg, Larry. Breath by Breath (Shambhala Classics) (pp. 27-28). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.

This business reminds me of Eckhart Tolle and his emphasis on the NOW.  I guess a person can concentrate on Now, just Now and get through a great deal.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

60 and Old People

There seems to be some belief that if I have a postive attitude, I won't get old and wind down. If an optimistic outlook seems good, a read of "Bright-sided" by Barbara Ehrenrich might help develop a different perspective.  Personally, I do think there is a positive angle to most situations. After a death, for instance, people sometimes think that the deceased may be at peace now.  

But postive angles or not, there are losses, there is pain and there is suffering.  A typical idea is that aging will bring pain, suffering and decline: less pep, less sight and hearing, less sleep.  A related idea, stressed by the Buddha, is that pain may be inescapable but much of the suffering connected to old age, sickness and death comes from squirming and fretting and feeling cheated or violated.

I have been passed 60 years of age for about 25% of my life and of course, it is the most recent period.  I have read that William James, a pioneer of American psychology, figured that one's consciousness covered a time of about 17 seconds.  That might be the "short present" but the times, they are a-changing (as they always are), and I figure that the current times might be said to be the last 10 years.  Ten years seems long enough to capture the current fashions in dress, food, worries, achievements, sports, etc. Because of science, entrepreneurship, marketing, inventions, inter-cultural comparisons and contrasts and mixes, "current times" may be shorter than they were.  

Swedish Professor Hans Rosling and his son and daughter have worked hard at bringing attention to out-dated ideas and education that needs updating.  Their little book, "Factfulness", stresses that many older people retain information given to them by their teachers but that by now, the world, its conditions and its people have changed.  

One of many things that has changed and is changing is advanced human age.  More people are living longer:

"People 90 and older now comprise 4.7 percent of the older population (age 65 and older), as compared with only 2.8 percent in 1980. By 2050, this share is likely to reach 10 percent." [Note: the portion has more than doubled]

Besides, more people over 60 and over 70 and over 80 are more vital than such people used to be.  They are more alive and more lively.

Depending on how I have lived my life and what I do with my body and diet now, I personally may be in no shape to live to 90 and beyond, but many people are.  Some who do are quite surprised at what life at older ages has become. Some are very happy, the happiest they have been at any time.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Ideas, questions and challenges

We attended the Friends General Conference Gathering, held this year at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. The Gathering is held on a college campus so housing is available in college dorms.  We are a bit old to be college students and we have had years of living in our own house with all its conveniences. It is a shock to our ways of being to have to get somewhat dressed to use the bathroom or wash our face in the morning.  One positive result is renewed appreciation for our house.  

A plus is that the kitchen and dining staff provides all the meals, but most college campuses are laid out for able-bodied, college-age vigorous young people.  We are not used to having to hike to breakfast, to group meetings, to lunch, and to dinner.  

I was in a workshop that met every morning from 9 to 11:45.  Its theme was "Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker". That is also the title of the book by the leader of our group, Brent Bill. The Society of Friends, or Quakers, was part of the long and broad revolution that began with Luther's 95 theses, basically questioning that idea that one needs the Church to intervene if one is to connect to God.  The book by Tom Wheeler "From Gutenberg to Google" makes clear that many people had criticisms of ideas and practices before Luther, but his questions and ideas were quickly spread by the new-fangled "printing press". Wheeler said that because of the conjunction of factors related to the printing press, Luther's criticisms and questions were dispersed to all parts of Germany within 15 days of their being posted on the Wittenberg church door, which served as a community bulletin board.

The Quakers emphasized an individual's personal and direct relation to the Divine and practiced slient contemplation of the state of one's soul. They still do.

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